“It’s [World Youth Day] an encounter of the family; an encounter that you have with friends, with Jesus Christ, and with the youth of this generation.”

At least that’s how a couple of long-lost friends who randomly ran into each other in Lisbon see it.

While the EWTN News team was out in the “City of Joy” interviewing World Youth Day (WYD) attendees, they caught a candid interaction on camera of three friends reuniting for the first time in years.

The girls, two of whom will join the Community of the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary, told EWTN News that they met in a formation school in Schoenstatt, Germany two years prior.

María Elina San Román who is 26 years old, María Belén Gómez, 29, and Sol Arrua, 23, studied with others from all over the world. They became very close while in the Central European country.

With the COVID-19 pandemic and the many other struggles in life, they had not seen each other since.

Fast forward to WYD 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal where San Román and Gómez were at the Schoenstatt booth at the Vocational Fair, located in the “City of Joy.” There, Gómez ran into their long-lost friend, Arrua. They hugged and cried.

Soon after, San Román spotted them as she stood near her booth and ran to hold her friend.

The three friends reunited in a sea of people, cried, and laughed together for some time before chatting about their lives.

According to Catholic News Agency, organizers said during an Aug. 1 press conference that  354,000 pilgrims from at least 143 countries registered for the event.

With those hundreds of thousands of people, along with the population of the city of Lisbon, which stands at over half a million people, the chances of running into familiar faces are slim.

However, no one can stand in the way of God’s plans.

Without knowing her friends were there that fateful day, Arrua decided she wanted to go on a stroll in the “City of Joy,” and they indeed all found joy.

Watch the beautiful video below:

Click here if you cannot see the video above.

Let us pray for all those participating in World Youth Day Lisbon 2023!

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