Jan. 28, 2019

Lisbon, prepared to organize WYD 2022

“The Tagus river will be like the sea of Galilee,” says Cardinal Archbishop of Lisbon.


Portugal will be the host country of World Youth Day  (WYD) 37º in the summer of 2022, as announced today by the prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life, Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell, in the name of the Holy Father, at the end of the Sending Off Mass of WYD, celebrated in John Paul II Field in the capital of Panama.

In a press conference about two hours after the announcement of Pope Francis, representatives of the organization of WYD 2022 offered their first official statements.
Africa will be very present at World Youth Day in Portugal
Cardinal archbishop of Lisbon, Manuel Clemente, began by making references to the privileged location of the city and of the likely site of the events. It will likely be in the “magnificent field where Expo ‘98, an international exposition in Lisbon dedicated to the oceans, was held 20 years ago, on the banks of the Tagus, in a vast land, a beautiful site, near the wide sea that resembles the Sea of Galilee.” He said that the site is very well served by transportation by road, rail, or airport.
Cardinal Manuel Clemente, who is also the president of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference, referred to Lisbon as a point of encounter for Portuguese-speaking people and revealed that one of the reasons for the Pope’s decision to choose Lisbon was “the connection of Portugal with African countries.”
In response to a question, the cardinal archbishop emphasized that the interreligious aspect will be, as it was in Panama, an important part of WYD 2022.
The Universal Evangelizing Vocation of Portugal
Instituted by Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day is one of the biggest events of the world. Each edition takes place in a different city with a program that includes religious celebrations and cultural and social activities. The main characteristic of WYD is to always have the presence of the pope, who becomes a pilgrim among the thousands of young pilgrims who participate.  Each edition of WYD is organized by the Vatican Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life in collaboration with the Local Organizing Committee.
Grateful for the “generosity of the archbishop, the Church of Portugal, and the local and national authorities,” Father Alexandre Awi Mello, secretary of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life, congratulated Lisbon in the name of the prefect, Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell.
According to Fr. Awi Mello, the link between Portugal and the Portuguese-speaking countries (Angola, Mozambique, Brazil, East Timor, Macau, Cape Verde, etc.) will be particular significant for the next WYD, as well as the “universal evangelizing call of the Portuguese Church” which it has accomplished, “the plan of God” to bring the Gospel to all parts of the world.
Lisbon, a Capital of Tolerance and Peace
Fernando Medina, the mayor of Lisbon, was also present at the conference. He assured the greatest commitment of the municipal bodies for the initiative and thanked the Portuguese Church and the Vatican for “the trust” placed in the city. The mayor called Lisbon the “capital of tolerance, peace,” and, therefore, the most appropriate place to celebrate WYD 2022.
At the end of his speech, he shared a brief anecdote that occured at the end of the Sending Off Mass of WYD: when he met the Pope, the Holy Father smiled and said, “You will have a lot of responsibility!”
At the press conference, held at the International Press Center of WYD, the auxiliary bishop of Lisbon and the president of the Episcopal Commission of Laity and Family, Dom Joaquim Mendes, the bishops of the Portuguese dioceses of Bragança-Miranda, Dom José Cordeiro, of Coimbra, Dom Virgílio Antunes, of Guarda, Dom Manuel Felício, and the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Braga, Dom Nuno Almeida also participated. On behalf of the government, the ambassador of Portugal in Panama and the secretary of state for the youth were present.
At the beginning of the press conference, a promotional video with a greeting from the city of Lisbon was shown.
Presidency of the Republic: WYD, a great religious and cultural event
On the official website of the Presidency of the Portuguese Republic, the president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, welcomes and celebrates the official announcement of Lisbon as the host of WYD 2022. According to Rebelo de Sousa, WYD, founded by Saint John Paul II, was already anticipated in a way during the Papal Mass in Eduardo VII Park in Lisbon in 1982. In his opinion, WYD “is a cultural and religious event that brings together young people from around the world for a week. It will be a great event for Portugal and for the young Portuguese people of all origins.”
The president of Portugal attended the Sending Off Mass of WYD 2019 in Panama and celebrated the news with all the pilgrims and volunteers present there.