FALL RIVER – Twenty-four pilgrims from the Diocese of Fall River will join hundreds of thousands of young adults in Lisbon, Portugal, next week for the celebration of World Youth Day (WYD) 2023.

The local group comprises mostly teenagers and young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 who come from parishes across the diocese. Accompanying them will be David Carvalho, the secretary for the New Evangelization in the diocese, and Oscar Rivera Jr., the diocesan director of Youth Ministry.

In Lisbon, they will be joined by Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., who will be among over 700 bishops in attendance from around the world.

The August 1 to 6 World Youth Day event is an opportunity for youth and young adults from around the globe to unite to celebrate and share their faith through a common experience of pilgrimage, prayer, and worship.

Pope Francis will join the WYD pilgrims on August 3, for a Welcome Ceremony in the city center. He will also preside at a Way of the Cross on August 4, a prayer vigil on August 5, and the WYD Closing Mass, with an anticipated crowd of a million or more, on August 6.

The young adults from the Diocese of Fall River will be among some 28,600 individuals participating from the United States.  The WYD schedule features prayer and liturgies, daily catechesis, concerts, presentations, cultural events, and opportunities for sight-seeing.

Bishop da Cunha will lead a Holy Hour for the diocesan delegation prior to their participation in the WYD Welcome Ceremony and Diocesan Youth Ministry Director Rivera has been selected to lead an XLT Life Teen prayer session with a brief teaching during WYD.

The diocesan pilgrims will depart on July 26, traveling first to the Azores for a two-day visit before heading to the mainland. Once In Portugal, they will do some touring before WYD begins. Their itinerary includes a visit to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, one of the world’s largest Catholic pilgrimage sites.

Rivera said the local group has been meeting to prepare for the WYD journey. Not surprisingly, he described the young pilgrims as “excited” as their date of departure nears.

“Many of them already have a connection to the areas we’ll visit because their families trace their roots there, and they want to see it,” he explained. “There is also a spiritual excitement too; they’re eager to see how they’ll grow in faith from the WYD experience.”

World Youth Day began in 1986 as an initiative, inaugurated by St. John Paul II, to bring young people from around the world together to encounter Christ and the universal Church. The international gathering with the Holy Father Pope takes place every three or four years in a different location around the world.

Follow the Fall River Diocesan group as they attend World Youth Day via the Secretariat for the New Evangelization Facebook page  and get a pilgrims’ view of the experience.

The Most Reverend Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., D.D.
The Most Reverend Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., D.D.
The Bishop of Fall River