Lisbon will host, in 2022, the next World Youth Days, which is considered the biggest event of the Catholic Church. The announcement, already expected, was received with “joy.” With this shared feeling comes also the notion of the responsibility that is to receive an event of these dimensions.
The announcement was expected, but the certainty arrived only Sunday with the announcement that Portugal will be the next country to receive the next World Youth Day (WYD) in 2022. Confirmation was given at the end of the closing Mass of the World Youth Days in Panama City by Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for the Laity, Family, and Life.
In order to receive the good news, the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, traveled to Panama, – a displacement that the Portuguese Atheist Association (AAP) repudiated, considering “a serious attack on the religious neutrality of the secular state” – the mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina, and the Secretary of State for Sport and Youth, as well as many young Catholics.
On hearing of the confirmation that Lisbon will be the scene of what is considered the greatest event of the Catholic Church, the President expressed “an uncontained joy” and considered that the relationship of Portugal with Africa a strong argument in the choice of the next host of WYD.
“It is an uncontained joy and it is to begin to dream already and to project what will happen in three and a half years,” said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, in Panama City.
“I think we got it, we got it all, we got Portuguese, got Catholics from Portugal naturally, got the Catholic bishops, got D. Manuel Clemente, cardinal-patriarch of Lisbon, but we got all of us as people and got ourselves we speak Portuguese”, said the head of state.
According to Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, “an important argument for this decision was to be a country that could open to several continents, and especially to Africa because it is the only continent that has not yet had the World Youth Days.”
“And it was understood – well – that Portugal, apart from opening to the American continent and, of course, opening to Europe, opened for Africa, to which Portuguese is very much spoken, and which we are going to gather in Lisbon, speaks, but will also come to Lisbon, “he said. For Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Portugal is the second Lusophone country to receive WYD after Brazil in 2013, “is the recognition of the weight of Lusophony, of the world that speaks Portuguese.”
On behalf of the Government, the Secretary of State for Sport and Youth stressed, in turn, the scale of the event and the “absolutely extraordinary joy” of receiving it. “We are talking about the biggest youth event in the world, I do not even know if we ever get anything like it in Portugal and, therefore, it’s extraordinary news,” said João Paulo Rebelo.
“I would say that it is an absolutely extraordinary joy for our country, obviously for the Diocese of Lisbon, for the Lisbon City Council, but also for the country, which once again recognizes the great organizational capacity that the country has, “he added.
The prime minister also reacted to the news, in the case through Twitter, ensuring that the Government will give all the support to “ensure the success” of the event that will extend to the municipality of Loures, as confirmed by the cardinal-patriarch of Lisbon, Manuel Clemente.