The Diocese of Parramatta has invited young people across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains to join them on its official pilgrimage to the 16th International World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal, in August 2023.
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, made the announcement to parishes, schools, ministries and agencies across the Diocese of Parramatta on Thursday 21 July – marking 12 months until the pilgrimage.
The Diocese of Parramatta will lead one pilgrimage over 22 days from 21 July to 11 August 2023 that will include visits to France, Spain and Portugal before a time of retreat in Assisi, Italy.
In his announcement, Bishop Vincent explained that for young people, World Youth Day has a “profound impact on their relationship with Jesus, their prayer life, their lived mission and their relationships with others.”
“In this post-pandemic world, I see a great need for bringing young people intentionally together in formation and community towards this ‘mountain-top’ experience, knowing that its fruits are years in the making well beyond a return to their school, parish, professional and personal lives,” he said.
Qwayne Guevara, Manager – Catholic Youth Parramatta, explained that “past World Youth Day pilgrims have returned to their local communities taking up leadership and service opportunities in their schools, parishes, workplaces, pursuing further theological study and some discerning their vocation.”
In January 2019, the Diocese of Parramatta journeyed with 171 pilgrims to Panama, which included 53 young adults, 50 high school students, 27 teachers, 25 small group leaders and two seminarians.
James Camden, Head – Mission Engagement, and joint Pilgrimage Coordinator, said the 2023 pilgrimage will again be modelled on this modest formula. “Over the past three WYD’s, we have successfully re-imagined what mas of young people has the greatest impact on each other and the overall experience.”
World Youth Day is a gathering of young people from all over the world with the Pope, a celebration of youth, an expression of the universal Church and an intense moment of evangelisation for the youth world.
It was created in 1986 by Pope St John Paul II and is hosted in a different international city every few years.
This year’s World Youth Day features the theme “Mary arose and went with haste” (Lk 1:39) – the third chapter in Pope Francis’ Marian-based themes for World Youth Day.
In announcing the pilgrimage, the Diocese of Parramatta launched its branding for the journey to Lisbon.
The striking and colourful design was created by the Diocese’s in-house team and depicts the Blessed Virgin in a running or ‘active’ stance, indicating her haste.
The lower half of the image includes elements of creation, such as flowers, vines and a dove, which indicate St Francis of Assisi’s mission for us to care for creation. This is fitting, as the pilgrimage will end with a time of retreat in Assisi. The Lisbon lettering is based off local Portuguese art styles, with a yellow tram and flamenco guitar nods to the host city.
Potential pilgrims, including clergy, aspiring group leaders and those interested in World Youth Day are invited to attend the Diocesan launch event on Thursday 18 August from 7pm at St John XXIII Catholic College, Stanhope Gardens.
To find out more information and to register for the launch event, go to www.parrawyd.org