United World Project


Mary arose and went with haste

30 July 2023   |   , , Y4UW

At Lisbon, even the Youth for a United World are getting ready for the WYD, World Youth Day. “Mary arose and went with haste” (Lk 1:39) is the verse from Luke’s Gospel chosen for the XXXVIII edition. The Mother of Jesus, the model that Pope Francis proposes to the youth who will reach the Lusitanian capital from 1st to the 6th of August.

Mitinha Abreu is 27 years old and comes from Angola. He lives in Lisbon since seven years. “Lisbon is a beautiful city, where you can meet people from all over the world. That makes you feel at home, even though you’re from a different country” he narrates. He dreams of becoming a lawyer, to help his people learn and defend their rights from the diffused corruption.  Thus he studies Law at the Universidad Autonoma of Lisbon. Instead Mauro Giordano is Argentinean and arrived in the Lusitanian capital a few month ago, as part of an international volunteering experience held by the Focolare Movement Center. Both of them are Youth for a United World, promoters of the United World Project.  To make humanity more and more a family, with respect for each one’s identity.

They travel all the possible journeys to build universal fraternity, in order to heal the divisions that exist within families, between generations, between different social groups.

Mary of Nazareth and the WYD

It is said that Napoleon Bonaparte had little sympathy for Mary of Nazareth, the Mother of Jesus. He suffered, towards her, from what we may call a form of jealousy. They shared, amongst the important anniversaries, the 15th of August. The birthday of the emperor (15th of August 1769) coincided with the day the Catholic Church celebrates Mary’s assumption in Heaven. To aggravate the dislike was also that song of the ‘Magnificat’ mentioned in the Gospels, in which that little girl dared to sing the greatness of her God by exalting certain qualities that were embarrassing to the emperor: “He has overthrown the mighty from their thrones, He has lifted up the humble”; or “He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts”. Thus, Bonaparte even went so far as to abolish the feast of the Assumption in France and institute the feast of St. Napoleon. Well known is the end of the story…

In our times, Pope Francis proposes Mary of Nazareth as a positive figure for the youth that will be at Lisbon from 1st to the 6th of August, for the XXXVIII edition of the WYD (World Youth Day): “In these last difficult times, in which humanity, already tried by the trauma of the pandemic, and torn apart by the drama of war, Mary opens for all and in particular for you all, youth like her, the way of proximity and encounter. I hope, and strongly believe, that the experience that many of you will live at Lisbon […] will represent a new start for you, youth and – with you all – for the whole of humanity”.

“Mary arose and went with haste” (Lk,1:39) is the theme of the WYD 2023. The Madonna, Pope Francis explains in his message for the young pilgrims, is the “model of the youth in movement, not still in front of the mirror to contemplate their own image or “trapped” in the nets. She is all outward looking’. Towards others. Above all, the neediest sisters and brothers.

The events

After long times of distance and isolation, at Lisbon, – with the help of God – we will, together, find again the joy of a fraternal embrace amongst the people and generations, the embrace of reconciliation and of peace, the embrace of a new missionary fraternity!