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Updates from World Youth Day Pilgrimage Lisbon, Portugal

Daily Updates From Portugal Pilgrimage

A team of diocese youth, leaders, adults and clergy, including Bishop Daniel Mueggenborg, are on a pilgrimage, attending World Youth Day and visiting holy sites in Portugal during the trip.


Join us as we share their journey day by day. Please keep them in your prayers. 


Read the article in High Desert Catholic magazine Summer 2023 on more about this very important spiritual pilgrimage for our youth!

First day was in Fatima. We went to Mass with fellow English speaking pilgrims celebrated by Cardinal Sean O Malley from Boston.  Did the stations of the cross where the Marian apparition occurred, saw the house of children were Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto lived. Had amazing fish for dinner, and capped it off with a candle light Precession for the Faith of the world with 3,000 pilgrims.

What a busy but beautiful day. Went inside the Cathedral Basilica in Fatima, Met many groups from around the world like Brazil, Japan, Costa Rica, and Australia. We made it to Lisbon after sharing a bus ride with a wonderful group from the of diocese Providence  RI and Fall River MA. We shared stories, laughter, and prayed. The Dominican Sisters of Nashville were on the bus and their joy and laughter made the bus ride very memorable. We spent the afternoon exploring the city of Lisbon or Lisboa, found a delightful coffee shop, saw the park where the big events will be, ate wonderful fish at a local restaurant, finished the night getting ice cream with a group from Australia. It is truly a beautiful city and we are having a wonderful time. We are waiting on all of the 500,000 of our closest friends to meet  and pray with them. God has been so good to us. Can’t wait until tomorrow.

We celebrated another day in Lisbon by starting the day touring the city, and we even rode on one their famous trolley’s (Deacon René loves them). We had a wonderful tour guide named Alfonso who showed us many beautiful Churches. He is in one of these pictures. World Youth Day  officially started this evening with the opening Mass. Let’s be honest I said yesterday that we were waiting on 500,000 of our closest and it felt even bigger. The Mass was beautiful ( we even saw our own Bishop Mueggenborg on the screen!!) and as one young adult said, it is great to know each person is here to worship at the same Mass. We finished the night with a burger from Ground Burger. It had great American burgers and fries. Tomorrow is going to be another wonderful day on Pilgrimage. We will have a networking session with pilgrims from around the world, hear a talk from a wonderful bishop, celebrate Mass, have some fun in the afternoon, and close the night with Adoration with Bishop Robert Barron. We are really excited! Know that we are praying for you, and pray for us as well. See you tomorrow.

Wow! I am so happy to be Catholic. Today made me proud of  the work that has been done in America by many wonderful bishops, clergy, religious, and laity. We started the day meeting other English speaking people where we heard compelling talks, and had conversations with other people in America but also countries like Tonga and Tasmania. Incredible! The other big event was a gathering for the pilgrims from America hosted by the bishops of our country. As you can tell from the videos thousands of Americans  came together.  It was truly a celebration in the fullest sense of the word. We were able to meet so many wonderful people from around our country. Also, Each bishop who came to WYD introduced themselves and the diocese they sheperad. I did not get my phone in time for our own Bishop Mueggenborg but I think Bishop Barrons introduction shows the excitement people had for their bishops. Bishop Barron had the keynote and he  encouraged  young people to have an encounter with the real Jesus which was  inspiring and was well received. Adoration with other pilgrims was wonderful because we were able to spend time with the Lord. Finally, as we were  heading back to our hotel, the whole bus station sang the Salve Regina. That may be the first time I’ve ever seen that. I’m excited to share with you our adventures tomorrow. Pray for us! Also, I am excited to share our adventures as we will welcome our Holy Father, Pope Francis to WYD.

Today was the day that we welcomed the Holy Father to WYD. It was such a wonderful day. We took a metro line to our morning session with English speaking pilgrims. Our specific small group had pilgrims from Poland and the Philippines. However, we met pilgrims afterwards from South Africa and Tanzania as well. We shared common struggles like navigating our culture today and having healthy detachment to things. On a side note we met some wonderful religious sisters from Ireland on the metro coming back, the joy they had for the Lord and the people they serve is incredible. Keep them and the country of Ireland in your prayers.

Being able to see Pope Francis was a true joy. I’m not sure the total of this welcome ceremony but it was probably between 400,000-500,000. Every inch of the park had someone. It’s hard to explain but Pope Francis’ love for us could be felt throughout his talk. He spoke with love and compassion and the crowd reciprocated it back to him. God Bless you all and we are continuing to pray for you.

We had a fantastic day filled with many memorable moments of laughter, joy and closeness with God. I just wanted to highlight a couple of events. The seminarians were able to spend some time with Bishop Mueggenborg with Mass and lunch. The rest of us attended the final catechetical session during World Youth Day. We had the opportunity to spend time with the Lord in front of the blessed Sacrament , Sacrament of Reconciliation, had the Archbishop of Southwark (England) John Wilson celebrate Mass for us. ( We pray for him and his Archdiocese).

We did stations of the cross in the park with Pope Francis. The stations of the cross were powerful for so many people. Our group was also able to see Pope Francis drive by tonight. I know it might sound cliche but it is hard to put into words the feeling to be that close to the our Holy Father. That alone was worth waiting many hours for the stations. Looking ahead, we will be sleeping at a park with 500,000 pilgrims waiting for the closing Mass. Praying for you and continue to keep us in yours.