The World

The Pope invites not to "retire" from "apostolic zeal".

The Pope arrived yesterday, August 2, in Lisbon to celebrate WYD with young people. On the first day, he closed his agenda with vespers at the Jeronimos Monastery and today he will meet with young university students at the Portuguese Catholic University. In the afternoon, the first big meeting with young people from all over the world will take place in the Eduardo VII Park, located in the center of Lisbon.

Loreto Rios-August 3, 2023-Reading time: 3 minutes

The Pope presides at Vespers in the Jeronimos Monastery, August 2, 2023 ©Nuno Moreira / WYD 2023 Lisbon

The Pope continues his participation in the World Youth Day in Lisbon. Yesterday, after meeting in the afternoon with the President of Portugal, Augusto Ernesto dos Santos Silva, and the Prime Minister, António Costa, he went to the Jeronimos Monastery to pray vespers accompanied by bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated men and women, seminarians and pastoral workers.

He arrived at the monastery at 6:30 p.m. (Lisbon local time) and was received at the main entrance by Cardinal Manuel Clemente, the president of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference and bishop of Leiria-Fatima, Monsignor José Ornelas Carvalho, and by the parish priest.

The Pope then presided at Vespers. In his homily, delivered in Spanish, he said he was "happy to be among you to experience World Youth Day together with so many young people, but also to share your ecclesial journey, your fatigue and your hopes.

Do not "retire" from "apostolic zeal".

Reflecting on Jesus' first encounters with the apostles, the Pope pointed out that at times we can experience weariness "when it seems to us that all we have in our hands are empty nets. This is a widespread feeling in countries of ancient Christian tradition, affected by many social and cultural changes, and increasingly marked by secularism, indifference to God and a growing detachment from the practice of the faith. And here lies the danger, that worldliness enters in.

And this is often accentuated by the disillusionment or anger that some people nourish in relation to the Church, in some cases because of our bad witness and the scandals that have disfigured her face, and which call for a humble, constant purification, starting from the cry of pain of the victims, who must always be welcomed and listened to. (...) Instead, let us trust that Jesus continues to reach out his hand, supporting his beloved Bride. Let us bring to the Lord our labors and our tears, so that we can face pastoral and spiritual situations, dialoguing among ourselves with open hearts to experience new paths to follow. When we are discouraged, conscious or not entirely conscious, we 'retire', we 'retire' from apostolic zeal (...)".

However, the Papa He pointed out that it is at this moment of discouragement that Jesus gets into the boat and asks the apostles to let down their nets again. "He comes to look for us in our loneliness, in our crises, to help us begin again. The spirituality of the new beginning. Do not be afraid of him. This is life: to fall and to begin again, to be bored and to receive joy again".

Casting the "gospel net

The Pontiff also called for hope in the midst of this secularized world: "There are many abysses in today's society, also here in Portugal, everywhere. We have the feeling that enthusiasm is lacking, the courage to dream, the strength to face challenges, confidence in the future; and, meanwhile, we navigate in uncertainty, in precariousness, especially economic precariousness, in poverty of social friendship, in lack of hope. We, as the Church, have been entrusted with the task of plunging into the waters of this sea, casting the net of the Gospel, without pointing fingers, without accusing, but bringing to the people of our time a proposal of life, that of Jesus (...)".

Francis concluded his homily by asking for the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima, the Angel of Portugal and St. Anthony of Padua.

Meetings with young people

After Vespers, the Pope drove to the Apostolic Nunciature in Lisbon, where he had dinner in private. He also met with victims of abuse by the Portuguese clergy. The meeting lasted more than an hour and took place "in a climate of intense listening," as noted by Vatican News.

Today, the Pope will meet with young university students at the Portuguese Catholic University, where he will bless the first stone of the Campus Veritatis. At around 11:40 a.m. (Lisbon time), he will travel to Cascais to meet with young people at the Scholas Occurrentes headquarters.

In the afternoon, at 4:45 p.m. Lisbon time, one of the great events of this WYD will take place: the first great meeting with young people from all over the world, in the Eduardo VII Park, located in the center of Lisbon.

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