(We apologize for the delay in posting Tuesday’s update – it was a long day that didn’t end for the group leaders until very late since we do our planning after the kids are in their rooms for the night!)

Tuesday, the first official day of World Youth Day 2023, was a very busy one for us and for the city of Lisbon!

Knowing what lay ahead, we started the day with Kelly leading us in Lectio Divina (literally “divine reading”.) Lectio Divina is a way of becoming immersed in the Scriptures very personally; this morning we immersed ourselves in the Beatitudes, followed by some small group discussion.

After that it was on to the train station to start our journey to the Belém district, location of St. Jerome Monastery and the WYD “City of Joy”, which featured catechesis, reconciliation, religious communities from around the world, and more!

We were able to travel as far as Alcantara-Terra by train – after that, we walked many miles through streets teeming with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from around the world. And the incredible ENCOUNTERS of WYD ! Today we connected with Spanish, French and German Young Catholics!

And, of course, there was singing – the song most often requested by other pilgrims!

In the evening, we were very blessed to celebrate Mass in the hotel with Fr. Mike Harrington from Cambridge, Fr. Chris Wallace and Transitional Deacon Marcelo Ferrari from Haverhill, and several groups from the Archdiocese of Boston. Our group – along with our new friend Andy from California on his guitar – provided the music for the Mass, which we did with great joy – the space was small (and hot!) but our hearts were full!

Tomorrow (Wednesday) the Pope arrives in Portugal!  Please keep him – and us – in your prayers, and know that you are in ours!

Tuesday, 8/1: Day 5 – Official “Opening Day” of World Youth Day!