Pope Francis flew to Lisbon on Wednesday for the 37th World Youth Day. He went to the capital of Portugal on the most modern aircraft in the ITA fleet – Airbus A320 neo in blue colors. Francis’ pilgrimage will last until Sunday. During it, strong appeals from the pope for peace are expected in connection with Russia’s war against Ukraine.
The plane carrying the pope, his associates and media envoys landed at around 11 a.m. on Wednesday at Figo Maduro Air Base, from where the pope will travel to Belem Palace, the seat of the president, for an official welcome ceremony and meeting with the head of state.
Then, in the modern Belem Cultural Center, the Pope will deliver the first speech of his visit – to a thousand representatives of the authorities, society and the diplomatic corps.
In the afternoon, he will meet the Prime Minister at the seat of the Apostolic Nunciature Portugal Antonio Luis Santos da Costa. At the end of the day, he will preside over Vespers with the participation of the clergy in the capital’s Jeronimos Monastery in the Belem district.
Meetings with young people
From Thursday to Sunday, with the participation of Franciszek, the events of World Youth Day will last: welcome with its participants, Way of the Cross, evening vigil and mass at the end of the meeting. The Pope will also visit the Marian sanctuary of Fatima and the city of Cascais.
It is also possible that during the visit the Pope will meet victims of pedophilia. This point is not in the program, because – as he reminded Vatican – such meetings are private and are not announced. The Church in Portugal was also shaken by the abuse scandal.
During the more than a decade of his pontificate, Francis has visited 60 countries so far. In Lisbon, he will meet hundreds of thousands of young people from all continents at a rally called by the media “Catholic Woodstock”.
It will be an event “under the sign of hope, embodied by the youth of the world, wounded by war and suffering,” emphasizes the Vatican. It is noted that peace will be at the center of WYD prayers. about 500 arrived in Lisbon and with the Russians.
Pope: I would like to go to Poland
During the flight from Rome to Lisbon for WYD, the PAP envoy told the Pope that 30,000 Poles were waiting for him there. Francis responded with a smile and gave a satisfied thumbs up.
When asked if he would go to Poland, he replied: “I would like to go”. The Pope was in Poland on the occasion of World Youth Day in Krakow in 2016.
The Vatican bets on ecology
For World Youth Day in Lisbon, the pope traveled in the most modern aircraft in the ITA fleet – Airbus A320 neo in blue colors. This aircraft, as explained by the management of the carrier, guarantees fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions 20 percent lower compared to previous generation aircraft.
The Italian airlines ITA, which replaced Alitalia, on the occasion of each papal pilgrimage emphasize that Francis, who is so close to the issue of protecting the natural environment, travels on planes that are more environmentally friendly. They use the Saf system, i.e. sustainable aviation fuel obtained, among others, from the recycling of various raw materials.
The Lisbon edition of WYD will be the most “ecological” of all so far, which the organizers took care of: water taps instead of plastic bottles, constant measurement of the carbon footprint, new trees planted – these are initiatives in the spirit of Francis’ concern for the environment.
The Pope, who has been having mobility problems for over a year, does not enter the plane by stairs as before, but enters it on a special platform. It also exits the same way.
Lisbon artist’s protest
According to the estimates of the Portuguese government and the Church, the Lisbon edition of WYD will cost EUR 160 million, which is a record sum in the history of meetings of Catholic youth organized since 1985. The last editions of this event in Europe, held in Madrid in 2011 and Krakow in 2016, were three times cheaper.
On Thursday, a Lisbon artist, using the pseudonym Bordalo II, spread a carpet with the image of numerous 500 euro notes on the steps of the main papal altar. Calling his work a “carpet of shame”, he confessed that he wanted to protest against the high costs of organizing WYD in Lisbon.
Main photo source: RESENTMENT