News Update

Pope Francis arrives in Portugal for World Youth Day

Pope Francis arrives in Lisbon, Portugal, to kick off his 42nd Apostolic Journey abroad for the occasion of World Youth Day, joking with journalists aboard the papal flight that he will return to Rome “more youthful.”

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Pope Francis has arrived in Lisbon, kicking off his 42nd Apostolic Journey abroad to the European nation of Portugal for the 37th World Youth Day. The flight arrived a few minutes early at Figo Maduro air base in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon at about 10 AM local time.

The ITA-Airways papal flight had left Rome’s Fiumicino International Airport at 8 AM local time Wednesday morning, carrying the Pope and the journalists following the journey from the papal flight.

After the papal plane took off, the Holy Father joked with journalists saying he would return from the Journey “more youthful.”

Programme for Wednesday

Upon the Holy Father landing in Lisbon, he will be received by a welcoming ceremony. Immediately afterwards, he will be greeted at the National Palace in Belèm by the President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. Also in the Belèm district, in the cultural centre, the Holy Father will meet the authorities, civil society and the diplomatic corps.

Following lunch, the Pope has two appointments before returning to the Apostolic Nunciature this evening where he will reside during his Portuguese stay.

At 4:45 p.m. in the nunciature, he will meet with the Prime Minister. At 5:30 p.m., in the famous Monastery dos Jerònimos, he will celebrate Vespers with bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated men and women, seminarians and pastoral workers.

At the completion of this Journey on Sunday, marking the Pope Francis’ second visit to Portugal since the start of his pontificate, he will have visited 60 countries since the start of his pontificate, given that Portugal was already included in this count after his May 2017 visit for the centenary of the apparitions in Fatima.

For the second time as Pope, the Holy Father on Saturday will visit the Marian pilgrimage site, the destination of millions of pilgrims every year. The Pope visited the Shrine, on 12-13 May 2017, for the centenary of the Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Cova da Iria. On that occasion, the Pope prayed for an end to the wars “lacerating” the world. In Fatima, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three Portuguese children slightly more than 100 years ago, in what was then a poor farming village.

As is tradition for Pope Francis before and after Apostolic Journeys, the Holy Father made a special stop to Rome’s Marian Basilica, Santa Maria Maggiore, to once again, entrust this travel to the Blessed Mother’s protection.

Below is the programme of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Portugal:

Wednesday, 2 August: arrival in Portugal

The Pope will depart at 7:50 am on Wednesday 2 August from Rome’s Fiumicino airport and arrive at 10 am at the Figo Maduro air base in Lisbon. Immediately afterwards, he will be greeted at the National Palace in Belèm by the President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. Also in the Belèm district, in the cultural centre, he will meet the authorities, civil society and the diplomatic corps. At 4:45 p.m. in the Apostolic Nunciature, he will meet with the Prime Minister and at 5:30 p.m., in the famous Monastery dos Jerònimos, he will celebrate Vespers with bishops, priests, deacons, consecrated men and women, seminarians and pastoral workers.

Thursday, 3 August: welcoming ceremony for the WYD

On Thursday morning, Pope Francis will meet the students on the premises of the Universidade Catòlica Portuguesa. Then he will leave Lisbon for nearby Cascais, where he will greet the young people of Scholas Occurentes who have their headquarters there. In the afternoon he will return to the Portuguese capital for the welcoming ceremony of WYD, which will take place at the Edward VII Park.

Friday, 4 August: Way of the Cross with young people

Some young people from WYD will receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation from the Pope in the “so Impèrio” square in Belèm on the morning of Friday 4 August. At around 9:45 am, Francis himself will go to the “de Serafina” parish centre to meet with representatives of some assistance and charity centres. At 12 noon there will be lunch with young people in the Apostolic Nunciature, while at 6 pm the Pontiff will preside over the Stations of the Cross with young people in Edward VII Park.

Saturday, 5 August: visit to Fatima and WYD vigil

The Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima will be visited by the Pope on the morning of Saturday 5 August. Francis will leave Lisbon by helicopter for the Fatima Stadium at 8:00 am and at 9:30 am will pray the Holy Rosary with the sick young people at the Chapel of Apparitions. Around noon, he is scheduled to return to the capital. Two appointments are scheduled: at 6 pm the usual private meeting with members of the Society of Jesus at the Colégio de S. João de Brito and at 8:45 pm, as mentioned, the vigil with young people will take place in Tejo Park.

Sunday, 6 August: Holy Mass and the return to the Vatican

The concluding Mass for World Youth Day will be celebrated by the Pope again in Tejo Park on Sunday 6 August at 9 a.m. In the afternoon there will be a meeting with the WYD volunteers at the ‘passeiomarìtimo’ in Algès, before the farewell ceremony at the Figo Maduro airbase.

The Pope’s return flight to Rome will leave at 6:15 p.m. and arrive at Fiumicino airport at 10:15 p.m.