Young Kiwi pilgrims sought for World Youth Day Lisbon 2023

Young people from around Aotearoa New Zealand are invited to join a pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon next year and maybe see Pope Francis himself there.

The Catholic bishops’ Council for Young People -- made up of representatives from Catholic youth ministries across the country – has published a draft itinerary for Kiwis wanting to attend the Lisbon event.

It is a very full itinerary of 24 days leaving Auckland on 15 July for Paris, then on pilgrimage to such places as Lyon and Lourdes, and Fatima for six days, before reaching Lisbon on 31 July. Lisbon will host many official events from 1 August to World Youth Day itself on Sunday 6 August, which climaxes with a Mass that Pope Francis is expected to celebrate in person.

Council for Young People chair, Alex Bailey of Hamilton, says the indicative cost of the pilgrimage including travel and accommodation is about $6500.

The draft itinerary is subject to change but will be confirmed when registration opens in September. Alex says the suggested age range is 18 to 35.

“The pilgrimage has a particular emphasis on the spiritual life,” Alex says. “As such, daily Mass will be available throughout the pilgrimage and several chaplains will be joining the pilgrimage as spiritual guides along the journey.”

World Youth Day is every three or so years and is a gathering of young people from all over the world with the Pope. It is also a pilgrimage, a celebration of youth, an expression of the universal Church and an intense moment of evangelisation. Although a Catholic event, World Youth Day opens its doors to everyone, no matter how close to or distant from the Church they are.

The Lisbon event was originally planned for August 2022 but was postponed a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first World Youth Day was in Rome in 1986. Others have followed in Buenos Aires, Santiago de Compostela, Czestochowa, Denver, Manila, Paris, Rome again, Toronto, Cologne, Sydney, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, Krakow, and most recently Panama in 2019.

The itinerary has a full list of diocesan email contacts for further information. You can download it here in PDF format.

The official World Youth Day website is here.