Last fall, I was asked by our Deacon at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Harlingen, TX to help accompany a small group to World Youth Day. We had a total of seven young people in our group ranging from ages 15-21 years old and their parents. This year approximately 1.5 million youth from around the world made the journey to World Youth Day which was held in Lisbon, Portugal.
While in Portugal we were able to make a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, where we participated in the International Mass with other World Youth Day pilgrims from around the world. Spending the day in Fatima gave me the opportunity to visit our Sisters who lived near the shrine with one of our youths and another chaperone.
On Tuesday, August 1st pilgrims filled Parque Eduardo VII to officially begin World Youth Day with the Opening Mass. The week consisted of many events including daily catechesis held in multiple locations in multiple languages. The highlights of the week were the welcoming ceremony, where we officially welcomed Pope Francis to Lisbon and World Youth Day and the overnight vigil and closing Mass.
The week was full of many blessings as well as challenges that I continue to take to prayer, but I am grateful that I got to experience something as powerful and inspirational as World Youth Day. It was such an honor to be with and witness so many youths on fire for their faith and it also gave me so much hope for our Catholic Church.
Written by Sister Carissa Kulpa, DC