Hong Kong (Agenzia Fides) - More than 300 boys and girls from the diocese of Hong Kong will participate in the next World Youth Day in Lisbon. The Hong Kong youth preparing to leave are organized into 14 groups from parishes, religious congregations, schools and ecclesial communities. From March to June, the boys and girls leaving for Lisbon attented 4 formation meetings and various moments of preparation (meditations on the Gospel, Eucharistic adoration, moments of community prayer).
Father Fructuoso López Martin, of the Missionaries of Guadalupe, President of the Diocesan Youth Ministry Commission, will lead the Hong Kong youth company together with several priests who are spiritual chaplains of the different youth communities. "Pope Francis has invited you, he has recommended you to go out of yourselves, to respond to the Lord's call through mutual encounter and encouragement with young people from all over the world." This is how the Bishop of Hong Kong Stephen Chow Sau-yan (included by Pope Francis in the list of future cardinals announced on Sunday, July 9) addressed the young people of the diocese during a solemn Eucharistic liturgy celebrated on July in the cathedral, at the initiative of the Diocesan Youth Ministry Commission. On that occasion, the future Cardinal gave the young people, who are preparing to leave, a special "missionary mandate", inviting them to attend WYD "with an open heart", a heart full of gratitude and eager to share their faith in communion with the young people of the Churches of the whole world.
During this liturgy, the 14 group leaders who will accompany the young people pronounced before the altar their plea asking to learn from the Virgin Mary promptness and humility in fulfilling the will of the Lord. As soon as they arrive in Portugal, the young people of Hong Kong will participate in a spiritual retreat and moments of formation that will help them treasure the experience of sharing with the Pope and with more than 600,000 young people from all corners of the planet. The Hong Kong youth group's travel program also includes a 100km pilgrimage on the Way of St. James, along a stretch of the famous trail that leads to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. During their stay in Europe, the young pilgrims will visit various shrines in France and in the diocese of Essen, in Germany. World Youth Day 2023 will be held in Lisbon (Portugal) from August 1 to 6. The WYD motto, "Mary set out and traveled in haste" (Lk 1,39), refers to the Visitation of Mary, the episode narrated in the Gospel of Luke in which the Virgin Mary, while pregnant, promptly visited her cousin Elizabeth, who was also pregnant and awaiting the birth of John the Baptist. According to the latest statistics provided by the official website of the diocese of Hong Kong (catholic.org.hk), with data as of August 31, 2022, 395,000 Catholics live in the territory included in the diocese of Hong Kong, out of a total population of 7,291,600 inhabitants. (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 13/7/2023)