Picture this: In less than a week, more than 500,000 young people will gather together for World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Young people from 200 nationalities on five continents travel and meet in one place for a week of prayer, catechesis, worship, cultural activities, and personal encounters with Our Lord in the sacraments.

This international gathering with young people between the ages of 14-30 will end with the presence of the Holy Father, Pope Francis.

Now, the question arises: How do I prepare well for World Youth Day?

Here are six ways to help.

The first three cover how to prepare and the final three suggest how not to prepare for World Youth Day 2023.

How to Prepare for World Youth Day 2023:

1. Be Intentional.

Learn about the 13 patron saints for this year’s World Youth Day.

Who are they and what are their life stories? Which virtues did they possess? Did you know that almost half of them are Lisbon natives?

These saints include Saint Vincent of Saragossa (patron saint of the diocese of Lisbon), Saint Anthony of Padua, Saint John de Brito, Blessed Joana of Portugal, and Blessed Maria Clara of the Child Jesus.

Now is the perfect time to learn about these heavenly friends who will pray for you. Seek their intercession for grace and all the virtues you need, such as chastity, patience, joy, and trust.

Ask and you shall receive!

2. Be Present.

You have been gifted with your senses. Our Lord blessed you with the sense of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.

You have your memory, will, intellect, and understanding. Ask our Lord to purify your senses so that what you gaze on with your eyes may be holy. Humbly pray to God so that all you hear with your ears may please Him.

Implore from Mary Virgin Most Powerful that your memory and imagination may be purified and used only for what will save your soul and those around you.

Be present with all your senses to soak up all that World Youth Day offers - the sacraments, devotional prayers, new friendships, wholesome conversations, sacred music - and to lift them up like incense before the presence of God.

3. Be Committed.

After the transformative week in Lisbon, chances are you will return home with many good resolutions and contact information of strangers who became your friends.

Ask God for the grace to follow through with the people you plan to keep in contact with.

Were there virtues you prayed for? Continue praying daily for God to bless you with those gifts. Did you learn about saints? Frequently invoke their aid through the hustle and bustle or monotony of your everyday life.

Above all, cling to God and ask Him for help in remaining faithful to your virtuous resolutions and edifying new friendships.

On the other hand, how should we not prepare for World Youth Day 2023? Let’s make it simple, like your ABCs.

A is for Anxiety.

Albeit the theme for World Youth Day 2023 is “Mary arose and went with haste” (Lk 1:39), know that anxiety is not preparation.

In preparation, do the necessary planning, order your to-do lists, and familiarize yourself with the week’s itinerary and sites you will lodge at.

Yet, let not your heart become troubled when things don’t go as planned. Cast your cares on the Lord because He cares for you (1 Pet. 5:7).

In all things, give Him thanks for the gift of participating in this soul-stirring experience. Accept all that happens as a gift from the Hands of your Savior in whose Palm you are enclosed.

B is for Baggage.

Excess baggage. Pack light for your trip. Begin with the essentials: prayer books, modest clothing, medications, means of personal identification, first aid kit, comfortable shoes, refillable water bottle, sunglasses (keep your eye out for EWTN crew members who will give out free sunglasses on-site!), hats, portable power banks, power adapter, rechargeable handheld fans, cleansing wipes, and other tools you need for a comfortable stay.

Beyond the essentials, prayerfully consider if what you pack is necessary, useful, and actually needed.

C is for Comparison.

Recall that comparison is the thief of all joy. Prepare to meet hundreds of thousands of young people from all over the world who are at different stages in their faith journey.

Some are more advanced in prayer and know a lot about the Catholic faith. Don't let this discourage or intimidate you.

On the other hand, others you meet may not be practicing Catholics. Be patient and walk with them in humility.

Regardless of who you encounter at World Youth Day, keep your gaze fixed on Our Lord and how He wants to love you and make you whole in Him.

In everything, pray, be open, trust God, and keep your gaze on Him alone.

Read the latest EWTN Wings email newsletter with information on where to watch EWTN’s World Youth Day 2023 coverage. In addition, read the official EWTN WYD press release.

Tune in to EWTN’s complete coverage all week long here.

Let’s conclude with the official prayer for World Youth Day 2023:

Our Lady of the Visitation,
you who arose and went with haste
into the hill country to meet Elizabeth,
lead us also to encounter all those who await us
to deliver them the living Gospel: Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord!

We, too, will go in haste,
without distraction or delay,
but with readiness and joy.

We will go with peace
because those who bring Christ bring peace,
and well-being comes
from being generous and loving in our deeds.

Our Lady of the Visitation,
through your inspiration,
this World Youth Day
will be a shared celebration of Christ,
whom we bring to others, just as you did.

Please make this a time of testimony and sharing,
of fraternity and thanksgiving,
with each of us looking for opportunities
to give to those who are waiting to receive.

With you, we will continue on this path of encounter
so that our world will join us, too,
in fraternity, justice, and peace.


Share this post