World Youth Day 2023
February 1, 2021
The World Youth Day (WYD) was instituted by John Paul II, in 1985, and from that moment on it has been understood as a moment of gathering and sharing for millions of people around the world.
is the bible quote chosen by Pope Francis as the motto of the XXVIII World Youth Day that will be held for the first time in the capital city of Lisbon, Portugal. The biblical phrase (a quote from the Gospel of St. Luke) opens the account of the Visitation (Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth), a biblical episode following the Annunciation (the angel’s announcement to Mary that she would be the mother of the Son of God, and the theme of the last WYD, in Panama).
During their conversation of the Annunciation, the angel also tells Mary that her older cousin, thought to be sterile, is pregnant. After affirming to the angel ” Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word ” (Lk 1:38), it is then that Mary sets out for Ain Karim, a village near Jerusalem where Elizabeth lived and was awaiting the birth of John, who would become Saint John the Baptist.
Mary of Nazareth is the great figure of the Christian journey. She teaches us to say yes to God. She was the protagonist of the last edition of WYD and will be so once again in Lisbon.
In the biblical episode of the Visitation, the action of standing up presents Mary as both a woman of charity and a missionary woman. Leaving in haste represents the attitude depicted in Pope Francis’ indications for WYD Lisbon 2023: «may young people’s evangelization be active and missionary, for this is how they will recognize and witness the presence of the living Christ».
Addressing young people in particular, and challenging them to be courageous missionaries, the following was written by the Pope in the Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit: « Where does Jesus send us? There are no borders, no limits: he sends us everywhere. The Gospel is for everyone, not just for some » (CV 177).
The logo of the WYD Lisbon 2023, inspired on the theme “Mary arose and went with haste” (Lc1, 39), has got the Cross as a main element. This is crossed by a path where the Holy Spirit arises.
It is an invitation for the young people so that they do not stand still and asking them to be the main characters in building a fairer and more fraternal world, explains the author, the young portuguese designer Beatriz Roque Antunes.
The colours (green, red, and yellow) evoke the Portuguese flag.
The Christian Cross, sign of the infinite love of God for the Humankind, is the main element, where everything is born from.
The passage of the Visitation is the theme of the WYD Lisbon 2023, and it reveals us that Mary was ready to live according to God’s will, being available to serve Elizabeth. This movement underlines the invitation made to the young people to renew their “inner strength, their dreams, the enthusiasm, the hope and the gratitude” (Christus Vivit, 20). Next to the path there is also a shape that evokes the Holy Spirit.
The choice of the rosary celebrates the spirituality of the Portuguese people in their devotion to Our Lady of Fátima. This is placed on the path to recall the pilgrimage experience which is so remarkable in Portugal.
Mary is depicted as a young girl to represent the figure of the Gospel of Saint Luke (Lc 1, 39) and to enable a resemblance with the youngest. The drawing expresses the juvenility of her age, a characteristic of someone who was not a mother yet, but who is carrying the light of the world inside Her. This figure has a slight inclination, to show the compelled attitude of the Virgin Mary.
Official theme song
The World Youth Day Lisbon 2023 theme song, entitled “Há Pressa no Ar”, was released this Wednesday, 27th January. The song, inspired on the WYD Lisbon 2023 theme [«Mary rose up and went with haste (Lc1,39)»], is about the ‘yes’ of Mary and about her rush to meet her cousin Elizabeth, just like the Bible verse says.
“Há Pressa no Ar” has lyrics by João Paulo Vaz, a priest, and music by Pedro Ferreira, teacher, and musician, both from the Diocese of Coimbra, in the centre region of Portugal. The arrangements were made by the musician Carlos Garcia.
When singing this theme song, the young people from all over the world are invited to identify themselves with Mary, disposing themselves to serve, to the mission and to the transformation of the world. The lyrics also evokes the party of the WYD and the joy that comes from Jesus.
All texts above are taken from the official website of the WYD Lisbon 2023