From the lawn of Lisbon

Several WYD pilgrims offer their testimony during these intense days of joy, prayer and meeting with Pope Francis in Lisbon.

Paloma López Campos-August 9, 2023-Reading time: 3 minutes
WYD Pilgrims

Pilgrims with Pope Francis at WYD 2023 (CNS photo / Lola Gomez)

Throughout these days, several pilgrims have told Omnes their testimonies. From different countries, with different stories, all these people have shared the last few days with Pope Francis in the WYDW of Lisbon.

A non-practicing young woman has recently arrived in Portugal accompanying her friends. There she was impressed by everything she saw, to the point that WYD reminded her "that there are still good things in this world, there is hope".

This young woman says that many pilgrims are excited to meet Catholics from countries on the other side of the globe and in all the meeting places you can see people exchanging gifts or gestures to remind each other of the beauty of sharing a common faith. "There is a lot of friendship and collaboration," people make room as soon as they see pilgrims arrive at a place, offer each other water, sunscreen, or anything else that might be needed.

The Cross is a symbol of victory

An English student named Tom who was at the Stations of the Cross expresses his opinion saying that he would have liked the silence before the prayer, but that in spite of everything it was a pleasant moment and that the arrival of the Pope immediately created a great climate of joy.

Tom explains that the Stations of the Cross prayer is a good time for young people to realize the Lord's sacrifice and that "the Cross is a symbol of victory, not defeat. We should rejoice in it and we should also contemplate it".

Lisbon, the home of all

A couple who hosted pilgrims during this WYD told Omnes their testimony. Two pilgrims stayed in their house during these days, but they were also helping in a house with 24 volunteers from different countries.

Family hosting pilgrims during WYD Lisbon 2023.

Through their actions, this couple wanted to remind all the young people and volunteers "that they are not alone, because this Day is theirs. We are helping them to feel at home here in Lisbon, because Lisbon is everyone's home. This welcoming family also expressed the hope that WYD will produce "many vocations and people with a deep-rooted faith".

Finding God in music

Nacho, one of the members of the musical group Kénosis who gave a concert to the young people at WYD, explains that the whole experience "has been very impacting" and "proof that God continues to act in the midst of the world".

He describes the days as "a week of harmony and joy, of friendship and fraternity, in which we all take care of each other". But he does not hide that there were also hard moments: "sleeping away from home, the crowds for meals and events, the long walks to get to the places...". All this is part of an experience "with many gifts from the Lord and, moreover, as good gifts are: unexpected".

As a member of Kénosis, Nacho points out that "it has been a privilege to be able to live this WYD with this family, transmitting the Lord through our music, and being able to feel Him through the music of many other people from different countries". This World Youth Day has been full of songs: "wherever we have gone, music has been with us and the Lord, through it, has touched many hearts".

An unforgettable experience

Marta, an 18-year-old pilgrim, describes these days at WYD in Lisbon as "an unforgettable experience" that has made her "grow as a person". She also notes that she has been "surprised to see so many people moving for the faith and uniting through prayer despite each speaking different languages." "In addition, I have met a lot of amazing people and I take a lot of anecdotes with me. Personally, I recommend it and I would repeat it without hesitation," he concludes.

Thank you, Lisbon. Next stop: Seoul

Like these stories, WYD Lisbon has left many testimonies of young people who have felt the Pope's closeness to them. Now, the pilgrims are preparing to respond to the invitation of the Holy Father, who has called everyone to Rome for the Jubilee of 2025.

Pilgrims next to the public transport set up in Lisbon for WYD.
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