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WYD Background

World Youth Day 2023
Lisbon, Portugal


Our country has been very much looking forward to this pilgrimage to Lisbon for World Youth Day 2023, with this year’s theme, “Mary arose and went with haste” (Luke 1:39).

This is a wonderful occasion for young adults to have a significant encounter with Jesus Christ in the company of the universal Church. It is also a moment when the Holy Father and the Church’s leadership get an opportunity to listen to the young people present, teach, and form them in the Gospel, and ultimately send them towards their vocation and mission in the world.

I encourage you to follow us along in our journey through the events. Please pray for me and my fellow pilgrims.

May God bless you,

Friday, August 4

Friday’s catechetical discussion was focused on “mercy: silence and contemplation.”

Prayer is friendship with God, and friendship takes time. So spend time in prayer—whether you feel like it or not. God wants to come and inhabit our hearts!

Why does Jesus go to a wedding? Because he himself, in person, is the marriage of heaven and earth. In Jesus, divinity and humanity come together. Wine is a very powerful Biblical symbol. It lifts up the spirit, intoxicates us, and it stands for grace and divine life. Mary speaks in the voice of ancient Israel, telling Jesus the wine is running out, the people are separating from you and losing contact with you. That’s why Jesus came to earth. He reestablished the connection between us and God so that divine grace may flow through us and intoxicate us, like the good wine.

Give your life to Christ—as our Blessed Mother said, “Do whatever he tells you”— and you will find true freedom and true joy. Freedom is the disciplining of desire, so as to make the achievement of the good first possible and then effortless.

God wants to come and inhabit our hearts. Clear out the attachments and addictions and distractions, and spend time in prayer daily. Might I recommend praying the Rosary or spending time in Eucharistic Adoration? Find the unum necessarium—the still point around which everything else turns. Allow God to be the center.

Thursday, August 3

A large part of World Youth Day is focused on catechesis. On Thursday, I led a discussion on “social friendship: commitment and action.”

Catechetical Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Martyrs

Wednesday, August 2

We should strive to be like the disciples on the road to Emmaus. When Christ takes possession of your heart and sets it on fire, be who you are, find your mission, and move in haste.

A United States Pilgrim Event

It was an honor to speak at the US national event. In Luke 24, the two Emmaus disciples, despite the lateness of the hour and dangers of the road, set out for Jerusalem upon recognizing Christ. They found their mission, and you too must find yours.


Lisbon Cathedral

Lisbon University

It was an honor to be invited to speak at the Dicastery for Culture and Education event. I addressed a crowd of Catholic educators and young adults. The various disciplines of knowledge are not opposed to the Gospel; rather, they’re a unique illumination of it. Education is pastoral work. And Catholic education especially is meant to instill virtue, to raise the eyes and the mind upward, and to help students discover the unique vocation God has in store for them. My thanks to the Vatican for inviting me to give this talk.

Following the presentation at the Dicastery, it was a privilege to give a reflection and to lead Benediction at the end of Eucharistic Adoration. The Eucharist is, as the Second Vatican Council taught, the source and summit of the Christian life! I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

Tuesday, August 1

I’m standing in an extraordinary plaza in Fatima—it’s much bigger than St. Peter’s Square. It’s my first visit to this marvelous place of such a rich history in the Church. The chapel where the apparitions occurred is right here, the basilica is behind me, and across the plaza is the modern basilica.

Here, our Blessed Mother asked us very specifically to pray the Rosary, and I just prayed the Rosary in the basilica, remembering many people.

What a charged place it is; it’s almost radioactive where you can feel the presence of the supernatural. It’s such a privilege to be here as part of World Youth Day.

We’re in the center of Lisbon, and behind me is an enormous gathering of young French people. I’m about to speak to them about the three paths of the spiritual life: finding the center, realizing you’re a sinner, and knowing that your life is not about you. I’m also going to talk about my time in France and how much it meant to me, especially the France of the great cathedrals.

Listen to the enthusiasm of the crowd! These are wonderful moments of evangelization!

Monday, July 31

Friends, after a long day of travel, we are here and ready for World Youth Day! Please pray for me and my fellow pilgrims.


We met up with fellow pilgrims at the gate.

Let us think on the theme for this World Youth Day, “Mary arose and went with haste” (Luke 1:39). Whether you’re here in Lisbon or following from afar, reflect on this line of Scripture with me for the next week.

How can we listen for the Holy Spirit’s movement in our lives and respond accordingly?