Over a million people expected in Lisbon for World Youth Day event

  • Lusa
  • 1 August 2023

There are no overall or official figures, but estimates suggest that WYD will cost around €160 million in total.

More than a million people are expected in Lisbon from Tuesday for the World Youth Day event (WYD), a meeting of young Catholic people from around the world with Pope Francis, which will run until Sunday.

The opening mass of the day will be celebrated by the cardinal patriarch of Lisbon at 7.30pm in the Edward VII Park.

Pope Francis will arrive in Lisbon at 10:00 on Wednesday and return to Rome at 18:15 on Sunday.

The pope will take part in ceremonies such as the welcome ceremony at the president of Portugal’s official residence, the National Palace of Belém, and the reception ceremony at the Edward VII Park, as well as meetings with young people, students, bishops, representatives of social and charitable assistance centres and religious denominations based in Portugal.

The main initiatives of WYD will take place in Lisbon, in the Edward VII Park, in the Belém area and in the Tagus Park (north of the Parque das Nações  on land in the municipalities of Lisbon and Loures).

The pope will also travel to Fatima on Saturday morning, where he will stay for about two hours to pray for peace and against the war in Ukraine.

Although it is difficult to predict, the organisation estimates that between one million and 1.5 million people will be in Lisbon. According to its latest figures, 313,000 pilgrims from 151 different countries had finalised their registration by early July. In total, 663,000 pilgrims started the process, with 480,000 moving on to the second stage of registration.

Many young people may not register at all, as participation is free and open to all. There were also 737 bishops registered, 29 of them cardinals.

There are no overall or official figures, but estimates suggest that WYD will cost around €160 million in total.

The government has put forward a figure of €36 million and the Church has said it will spend around €80 million. There are also two city councils involved, Lisbon, which will come up with about €35 million, and Loures, with €9-10 million.

During WYD, 16,000 members of the security forces, civil protection and medical emergency services will be deployed, and the Armed Forces and the Spanish, European (Europol) and international (Interpol) police forces are also expected to collaborate.

WYD, which is the Catholic Church’s biggest event, has five official languages: Portuguese, French, English, Spanish and Italian.

The day was born on the initiative of Pope John Paul II (1920-2005), after a meeting with young people in 1985 in Rome, during the International Year of Youth.