Here’s how many Filipino pilgrims are headed to World Youth Day in Lisbon

July 27, 2023 - 7:13 PM
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World Youth Day pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Cebu and the dioceses of Antipolo and Pasig arrive in Lisbon, Portugal on July 25, 2023. (Diocese of Pasig)

A Catholic official estimated not fewer than 1,500 Filipino pilgrims are projected to travel to Portugal for this year’s World Youth Day, the largest gathering of young Catholics from around the world.

Father Jade Licuanan, executive secretary of the bishops’ Episcopal Commission on Youth, said the ECY delegation alone reached nearly 300 participants.

The pilgrims number more than twice the amount of ECY delegates who went to the WYD in Panama in 2019, which was only 99.

“The reliable data is with the local organizing committee in Portugal but our estimate is between 1,500 and 2,000 pilgrims coming from the Philippines,” Licuanan said.

Filipino delegates have started arriving in the European nation this week for the “Days in the Dioceses,” a preparatory journey for the pilgrims and the host community to experience the days around WYD.

Throughout these days, from July 26 to 31, the pilgrims will become acquainted with the host region, as well as the local Church.

WYD organizers said more than 67,000 pilgrims from 126 countries will be welcomed in 17 dioceses of mainland Portugal in the week leading to WYD in Lisbon from August 1 to 6.

The young people, divided into more than 950 groups, will stay in host family houses, parishes, public facilities, and schools.

A bulk of the Philippine delegation will be coming from different dioceses, religious congregations, and lay church organizations.

For instance, the Archdiocese of Manila sent 34 delegates, while the Cebu archdiocese has 45 pilgrims. The Couples for Christ also has around 30 delegates.

Around 20 participants came from Pasig, which is sending an official delegation to WYD for the first time as a diocese. In previous WYD celebrations, pilgrims from Pasig were always part of the delegation of the Manila archdiocese and the Diocese of Cubao.

Established by Pope John Paul II in 1985, the weeklong WYD celebrations usually attract hundreds of thousands of young people from across the globe.

WYD takes place every three years and offers a deeper encounter with Jesus Christ through liturgical celebrations, networking, faith sharing, catechetical sessions, and prayer with the pope.

The triennial event was originally supposed to take place in 2022 but the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to postpone the event until 2023.