World Youth Day: What Your Parish Can Do

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World Youth Day (WYD) is a gathering of millions of young adults, along with the pope, that takes place over the course of a week every two to four years, each time in a different country. It celebrates youth, demonstrates the universality of the Church, and is a moment of evangelization for the Church. This year, WYD is taking place in Lisbon, Portugal, August 1–6, 2023.

WYD presents a great opportunity for your parish to focus on youth and to accompany, virtually and spiritually, the millions of pilgrims who will descend upon Lisbon. Here are a few ways your parish can highlight youth during the next few weeks:

  • Invite young people to stand during or after Mass for a special blessing (could be at all Masses), similar to a blessing for moms on Mother’s Day or catechists on Catechetical Sunday.
  • Include a petition at Mass for all those young people attending WYD and for the youth of the parish. Here’s an example: “For all those participating in the global celebration of World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal, and for all the youth of our parish, that the Lord move their hearts to a closer relationship with him, we pray to the Lord.”
  • Include a message in the homily for the youth of the parish and for those attending WYD.
  • Have a Youth Mass, and invite all young people and their families to celebrate WYD locally.
  • Host a WYD celebration after Mass, inviting young people and their families for a meal or snacks. Consider including music, games, an inspirational speaker, or a service project that can be experienced together.
  • Highlight young people who are involved in various ministries in the parish.
  • Arrange a Holy Hour for young people that includes catechesis, inspirational talks and music, and time for reflection.
  • Organize a youth retreat or day of prayer for young people, and use the themes from WYD Lisbon.
  • Invite young people to participate in an experience of service to others.
  • Invite young people to offer reflections about their faith at Sunday Masses.

Here are some key links to themes and events related to WYD Lisbon:

Don’t miss this opportunity to let young people know that they are an important part of the Church!

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

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