Aldo Morocho, OFS, far left, and youth in front of Praça do Comércio in Lisbon preparing for World Youth Day. Aldo and his daughter Dalia Morocho, and Fr. John De La Riva, OFM Cap, are among the Secular Franciscan representatives at the weeklong event.
Secular Franciscans are encouraged to participate through prayer with our young people at the World Youth Day opening Aug. 1 in Lisbon, Portugal, according to Kathleen Molaro, OFS, national Youth and Young Adult Commission Chair. Each day the young visitors are invited to share in the following daily challenges.
“Get up and start again” is the expectation for this day. The eagerly awaited 1st of August, which marks the beginning of WYD Lisbon 2023, has “Leave” as the word of the day. “Who am I and how do I come to this WYD? What do I bring and what am I looking for?” is the challenge for each of the young people embracing this great adventure. “In these days, I begin to design my path here – I choose conferences, concerts, theaters, exhibitions, volunteering, whatever moves me the most.”
Daily challenge: Meet and discover the curiosities of two people from different nationalities.
This is the time for young people to step out of their comfort zones and take action. Reflecting on questions like “Am I looking for Jesus in a hurry?” and “Where can I find Him?” can deepen the pilgrimage experience. “Today, I actively engage in the opportunities of the day. I recognize the presence of the living Christ, seeking what urges me forward and identifying anything that hinders my progress.”
Daily challenge: Hurry to find Jesus and visit Him in a church.
Discovering the joy of being a Christian is the purpose of this day. “Today, I contemplate how faith is concretized in my life – its implications and its transformative effect on my attitude towards others. I embrace joy in my daily living.”
Daily challenge: Share with someone what made them happiest during the day.
This day beckons the youth to embrace Faith and step inside, leaving hesitation at the door. “I open the doors to Christ,” “I let him in.” “Am I afraid? Of what?” These are the questions that guide the pilgrims in their reflections. Today, I aim to learn the art of opening my heart to Jesus, unrestricted. What holds me back from belief? What changes do I fear might unfold in my life?
Daily challenge: Offer a prayer for someone you know who hasn’t yet found belief in God.
Pilgrims are invited to ponder, introspect, and express gratitude for the blessings bestowed upon them by God. “Today, I aspire to master the art of prayer, to be grateful, and to find solace in the presence of Jesus. I will be by His side, acknowledging and appreciating all that I have encountered.”
Daily challenge: Embrace the person who left the deepest impression on you during the week and include them in your prayers.
Pilgrims are encouraged to contemplate what lingers in their hearts after the encounter and how it will shape their lives. “Today, I conclude as I commenced – with a renewed spirit and endless rejuvenation. I acknowledge that I am a missionary, destined to spread the good news to all.”
Daily challenge: Share the WYD experience with two individuals who have not yet experienced it.