WORLD YOUTH DAY '23
Young people have a special annual event in the church just for them. Each year, the youth are invited to come together to celebrate World Youth Day. World Youth Day celebrates young people and prepares them to become missionary disciples. The World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal is a reminder that Catholic young people are on a journey of faith, like those who have come before them. It is also an opportunity for young people to encounter the Catholic community. Every year, young Catholics gather from all over the world to reflect on, celebrate, and proclaim their faith in God.
World Youth Day (WYD) was initiated by Pope John Paul II in 1985 for the youth all around the world. Its concept has been influenced by the Light-Life Movement that has existed in Poland since the 1960s. Ever since the first celebration of WYD in 1986, bishops were invited to schedule an annual youth event every Palm Sunday in their dioceses. Although it is celebrated at the diocesan level annually, WYD is also celebrated at the international level every two to three years at different locations. The WYD 1995 closing Mass in the Philippines set a world record for the largest number of people gathered for a single religious event with 5 million attendees— a record surpassed when 6 million attended a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in the Philippines 20 years later in 2015.
Our WYD Story
In August of 1993, we were blessed as a young engaged couple, to take part in World Youth Day in Denver Colorado. It was such an amazing sight to see hundreds of thousands of Catholics celebrating their faith with JPII. Three years later we were married and talked about the possibility of one day taking our family to a WYD event, but because of their ages and because the magnitude of people attending, we chose to wait until they got older. Well wouldn't you know it, 25 years later, our children are now young adults and we are excited to be back at WYD 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal.