“Since we made this commitment (…) we have accounted for all possible scenarios on what the Holy Father’s own movement limitations may be”, said bishop Américo Aguiar to Lusa agency.

While mobility issues have been tackled by the organisers what is not yet known is what the agenda of the visit will entail

“We are going to start working on the Pope’s program in January/February”, says Américo Aguiar, admitting that “there are open things that you want to schedule and that are not scheduled”, although “the skeleton of the day’s program is always the same, there is no change”, that is, the vigil from Saturday to Sunday and the final Mass on Sunday will be attended by the Pope.

“And then there is the official program and then the unofficial program, which is what comes from the heart and will of the Pope himself, during the time he is with us”.

And what experience will young people who come to Lisbon in August 2023 have? “I imagine it will be a unique experience. Anyone who has had the grace to witness the World Youth Days on the ground can see that it is something unforgettable”, assures the bishop.

“I am seeing - and I think I can help to understand a little bit - Panama [the country that hosted the last WYD, in 2019] with the arrival of the various delegations. The kids speaking their languages, English, Spanish, French and others, like German and Polish and so on, and at a certain point I start to hear them speaking a new language that is not English, not quite Spanish, it's one thing, a mixture of what the ease with which young people communicate means”, says Américo Aguiar.

“We are going to witness hundreds of thousands of young people like a river flowing through the city, flowing through Greater Lisbon, in this celebration of universal fraternity that the Pope asks of us”.

And for this meeting, the invitation is also extended to non-Catholic youth.

“It is not made for any religion, for any sensibility, or for any particularly special sector. The invitation to World Youth Day, all popes make it to young people around the world and this is what we have replicated and this is the effort we have made”, says the auxiliary bishop of Lisbon.