Pope Francis says "With this World Youth Day, God gave a “push”...the great pilgrimage of young people across the continents, in the name of Jesus Christ." FULL TEXT + Video

Paul VI Audience Hall on Wednesday, 9 August 2023

Catechesis. Apostolic Journey of His Holiness Pope Francis to Portugal on the occasion of the World Youth Day

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

In the past few days, I went to Portugal for the 37th World Youth Day.

This World Youth Day in Lisbon, after the pandemic, was considered by all to be a gift of God, who has set in motion once again the hearts and the steps of the world’s youth on the path of the Gospel: many young people from all over the world, many of them! To meet each other and to meet Jesus.

The pandemic, as we well know, had a severe impact on social behaviour: isolation often degenerated into closure, and young people were particularly affected. With this World Youth Day, God gave a “push” in the other direction. It marked a new beginning of the great pilgrimage of young people across the continents, in the name of Jesus Christ.

And it was not a coincidence that this happened in Lisbon, a city overlooking the ocean, a city that is a symbol of the great explorations by sea.

And so, at World Youth Day, the Gospel proposed to young people the model of the Virgin Mary. At her most critical moment, she goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth, and the Gospel says Mary “arose and went in haste” (Lk 1:39). I like to invoke Our Lady in this way, Our Lady “in haste”. She always does things in haste, she never makes us wait; She is the mother of everyone. In this way, Mary guides the pilgrimage of young people in following Jesus today, in the third millennium. Just as she did a century ago in Portugal, at Fatima, when she spoke to three children, entrusting them with a message of faith and hope for the Church and the world. That is why, in World Youth Day, I returned to Fatima, where the apparition took place, and, together with some sick young people, I prayed to God that he would heal the world of the diseases of the soul: pride, lies, enmity, violence are diseases of the soul, and the world is ailing from these diseases. And we renewed our consecration, the consecration of Europe, of the world, to Mary, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I prayed for peace because there are so many wars all over the world, so many.

The young people of the world came to Lisbon in large numbers and with great enthusiasm. I met them in small groups and some with a great deal of problems; the group of young Ukrainians who brought stories that were painful. It was not a holiday, a tourist trip, nor even a spiritual event for its own sake. World Youth Day is an encounter with the living Christ through the Church, the young people go to encounter Christ; it is true that where there are young people there is joy, there is a bit of all these things!

My visit to Portugal, on the occasion of World Youth Day, benefited from its festive atmosphere, this wave of young people. I thank God for this, thinking especially of the Church of Lisbon which, in exchange for the great effort made in organizing and hosting it, will receive new energies to continue its new journey, to cast its nets once again with apostolic zeal. The youth of Portugal are already today a vital presence, and now, after this “transfusion” received from Churches around the world, they will become even more so.

And many young people have returned via Rome: I am seeing them here too, there are some who participated in this Day. There they are! Where there are young people there is noise, they are good at making it!

While in Ukraine and other places in the world there is fighting, and while in certain hidden halls war is planned – this is bad, war is planned! – World Youth Day showed everyone that another way is possible, a world of brothers and sisters, where the flags of all peoples fly together, next to each other, without hatred, without fear, without closing up, without weapons! The message of the young people was clear: will the “mighty of the earth” listen to it, I wonder? This youthful enthusiasm that wants peace? It is a parable for our time, and even today Jesus says: “Whoever have ears, let them hear! Whoever has eyes, let them see!” Let us hope that the entire world listens to this World Youth Day and watches this beauty of the young, going forward.

Once again, I express my gratitude to Portugal, to Lisbon, to the President of the Republic, who was present at all the celebrations, and the other civil authorities; to the Patriarch of Lisbon, who was good; the President of the Episcopal Conference, and the bishop who organized World Youth Day, and to all the collaborators and volunteers. Think that the volunteers – I went to meet them on the last day, before returning – numbered 25 thousand: this World Youth Day had 25 thousand volunteers! Thank you all! Through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, may the Lord bless the young people of the world and may he bless the Portuguese people. Let us pray together to Our Lady, all together, that She may bless the Portuguese people.

[recitation of the Hail Mary]


Special Greetings

I extend a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from Malta, Nigeria, Tonga and the United States of America. Upon you and your families I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you all!

I greet cordially les pèlerins de langue française, en particulier un groupe de Centrafrique venu célébrer avec le Cardinal Nzapalainga le 25ème anniversaire de son Ordination sacerdotale. À l'occasion de la prochaine solemné du 15 août, je porte dans ma prière, de manière particulière, la France, dont la Vierge de l'Assomption est la Patronne. Que Notre-Dame garde toujours ses enfants di lei dans la foi di lei, et qu'elle les aide à construire leur vie et leur société sur le Roc qu'est le Christ, unique espérance des Nations. Que Dieu vous benisse!

[I would like to warmly welcome the French-speaking pilgrims, especially a group from the Central African Republic who have come to celebrate with Cardinal Nzapalainga the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. On the occasion of the forthcoming solemnity of August 15, I pray in a special way for France, whose Patroness is the Virgin of the Assumption. May Our Lady always keep her children in the faith and help them build their lives and their society on the Rock which is Christ, the only hope of the Nations. God bless you!]

I extend a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today's Audience, especially the groups from Malta, Nigeria, Tonga and the United States of America. Upon you and your families I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you all!

[I welcome all English-speaking pilgrims, especially groups from Malta, Nigeria, Tonga and the United States of America. Upon all of you and your families I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!]

Einen herzlichen Gruß richte ich an die Gläubigen deutscher Sprache. Die vielen jungen Menschen, die in Lissabon zusammengekommen sind, haben bezeugt, dass Christus lebt. Er möge unsere Herzen erneuern und sie mit seiner Freude erfüllen.

[I address a cordial greeting to the German-speaking faithful. The many young people who gathered in Lisbon testified that Christ lives. May he renew our hearts and fill them with his joy.]

I cordially greet a los peregrinos de lengua española. Veo banderas mexicanas, colombianas, panameñas, argentinas, salvadoreñas. Greetings to all. Pidamos al Señor, through the intercession of Nuestra Señora de Fátima, who bends and strengthens all those who have participated in the World Youth Day, so that the joy of the Evangelio reaches the ends of the earth. Que Jesús los bengiga y la Virgen Santa los cuide. Gracias.

Queridos peregrinos de língua portuguesa, abraço-vos a tutti e de coração vos abençoo a vós e às vossas famílias. Que Nossa Senhora vos acompanhe e semper vos proteja. I took this opportunity to send a particular greeting to the Presidents of the countries of the Amazon region who, last year, were united in Belém do Pará, in Brazil. I assure you my prayers for the outcome of your encounter, wishing that everyone is compromised in the process of creation and sustained progress.

[Dear Portuguese-speaking pilgrims, I embrace you all and heartily bless you and your families. May Our Lady always accompany and protect you. I take this opportunity to send a special greeting to the Presidents of the countries of the Amazon region who are meeting in Belém do Pará, Brazil these days. I assure you of my prayers for the success of their meeting, wishing that everyone's commitment to care for creation and sustainable development will be renewed.]

أُحَيِّي المؤمِنينَ الناطِقينَ باللّغَةِ العربِيَّة. بيَّنَ اليومُ العالميّ للشَّبيبةِ للجميعِ أنَّه يُمكِنُ أنْ نَعيشَ في عالَمٍ مِن الإخوةِ وا لأخوات، وحيثُ تُرَفرِفُ أعلامُ الشُّعوبِ كلِّها معًا، وبدونِ حقد، وبدونِ خوف، وبدونِ ان غلاقٍ على النَّفس، وبدونِ أسلحة! باركَكُم الرّبُّ جَميعًا وحَماكُم دائِمًا مِن كُلِّ شَرّ!

[I greet the Arabic-speaking faithful. World Youth Day has shown everyone that it is possible to live in a world of brothers and sisters, where the flags of all peoples fly together, without hatred, without fear, without closures and without weapons! May the Lord bless you all and protect you always from all evil!]

Pozdrawiam serdecznie Polaków, dziękując wszystkim za modlitewne wsparcie podczas mojej podróży do Portugalii. W tym miesiącu wielu z was pielgrzymuje na Jasną Górę i do innych sanktuariów maryjnych; dlatego powierzam wam pragnienie, które noszę w sercu: pragnienie pokoju dla świata. Przedstawcie je Tej, która jest Królową Pokoju. Proście o ten bezcenny dar zwłaszcza dla drogiej i umęczonej Ukrainy. Z serca wam błogosławię.
[I cordially greet the Poles, thanking you for your prayerful support during my trip to Portugal. This month many of you are on pilgrimage to Jasna Góra and other Marian shrines, so I entrust to you a desire that is in my heart: the desire for peace in the world. Present it to her who is the Queen of Peace. Ask for this invaluable gift, especially for dear and tormented Ukraine. I bless you from my heart.]


In recent days, dramatic natural phenomena have occurred in Slovenia and Georgia, causing deaths and material destruction. I pray for the victims and express my spiritual closeness to their families and to all those who suffer from these disasters, as I thank all who have offered them assistance, especially the volunteers.

* * *

I cordially greet the Italian-speaking pilgrims. In particular, the religious of the Holy Union of the Sacred Hearts, the Handmaids of the Visitation, the Worker Pies of the Immaculate Conception and the Sisters of the Holy Family, who celebrate their respective General Chapters. Dear sisters, I wish you serene and fruitful work!

I am pleased to welcome the Città di Monteroduni band concert; as well as the seminarians, together with their formators, of the Seeds of the Word Community: may you strengthen your fidelity to Christ every day and proclaim the Gospel with creativity.

I address a particular thought to young people, the sick, the elderly and newlyweds, of whom there are so many! Today we celebrate the commemoration of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Virgin and Martyr, Co-patron of Europe: her testimony stimulates the commitment in favor of dialogue and brotherhood between peoples and against all forms of violence and of discrimination. We entrust the dear population of Ukraine to your intercession, so that you may soon find peace again.

To all of you my blessing.
Source: Vatican.va