The World

WYD 2023, young people searching for themselves in Christ

According to a survey conducted by the consulting firm GAD3, 94 % of the young people attending WYD in Lisbon wish to find themselves through Christ.

Paloma López Campos-July 31, 2023-Reading time: 3 minutes
WYD Pilgrims

A group of young people attend Mass in New York before beginning their pilgrimage to WYD Lisbon (OSV News photo / Gregory A. Shemitz)

The consulting firm GAD3 conducted a survey of more than 12,500 people from July 12 to 20. The purpose of the surveys and interviews conducted was to gain a better understanding of the participants in the World Youth Day (WYD) in Lisbon. The study was conducted in the five official languages of the meeting (English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian).

The results of the survey show that for 67 % of the pilgrims, attending WYD in Lisbon is something new. Only 34 % of respondents have already been to another World Youth Day. Among those who repeat this experience, the majority attended Krakow in 2016, while many others were in Madrid with Benedict XVI in 2011.

73 % of those surveyed are coming to WYD as pilgrims, compared to 27 % of volunteers who will collaborate in the organization and development of the meeting. And of all these people, many will travel to Lisbon accompanied by a religious group or association (36 % of all attendees). The presence of parish groups is also striking, with 29 % traveling to Portugal with a parish, while 13 % of the respondents answered that they are going to WYD with their friends.

Long-term stays and public transportation

GAD3 asked respondents about the duration of their stay, and the average response was five and a half days. On the other hand, almost half indicated that they will travel to Lisbon by plane (43 %), and 35 % will arrive by bus.

An international meeting

23.3 % of the pilgrims are from Portugal, the country hosting WYD. Spaniards make up 10.7 % of the attendees, followed by Italians who will make up 10.2 % of the pilgrims.

However, Lisbon will not only welcome Europeans. A 7.2 % of Brazilians are expected to arrive in Portugal this week to meet with the Pope Francis.

In addition, many respondents indicated that they will take advantage of the pilgrimage to also visit other countries, such as France or Spain, or that they will even go on pilgrimage to such emblematic sites as Lourdes or Fatima.

JMJ, why?

The survey also touched on the motivations for attending this meeting. 94 % of the responses indicated that most young people go to WYD to "discover themselves through Jesus Christ".

Many also consider this pilgrimage an opportunity to live a new experience (92 %), while 89 % attend with a desire to evangelize, because they assure that WYD is a good moment to spread the message of Christ.

Positive evaluations of WYD

99 % of the people who have attended other WYD gatherings say that their experience was positive. Not only that, but 92 % express that the encounter had a significant impact on their lives.

Almost all of the respondents felt that thanks to these days, young people are more committed to the Church and, through the various activities that make up the pilgrimage, the Church's message reaches the whole world more effectively.

Committed young people

The average age of the attendees is 31 years old and the vast majority of pilgrims (98 %) are Catholic. Almost all attend Mass on Sundays (83 %) and pray daily (65 %). In addition, more than half of the attendees are part of a parish group.

97 % of those surveyed consider that their faith helps them to mature, to be a better person and to contribute to building a better world. Their beliefs are not an obstacle to living in the reality of today's youth, as the survey also pointed out the management of social networks (71 % use Instagram, for example). In addition, 82 % have completed higher education and more than half of them have a job.

Finally, the consulting firm GAD3 points out that the survey carried out allows us to affirm that "these conferences strengthen the commitment of young people to the society in which they live".

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