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Apostolic Movement

Schoenstatt Youth is involved in the catechesis at WYD

One thing that has become a tradition at World Youth Day consists of the catechesis sessions. These are moments of encounter, reflection, and prayer for young people throughout the week. There are venues for this throughout various parishes and places in the city, divided by language.

For many years, the catecheses have been led by bishops, but in 2023 there is something new. At WYD Lisbon, the youth will be the protagonists! They will lead the catechesis. And the Schoenstatt Youth has not been left out.

The youth group from Brazil will be responsible for one of the catechesis spots during WYD. They will be accompanied by the Brazilian bishop Benedito Gonçalves dos Santos, from the diocese of Presidente Prudente, state of São Paulo. The bishop will be one of the “spectators” during the reflections and will preside the moments of prayer, such as the Mass and the blessings.

Rise Up Encounters – The New Catechesis

500 young people are expected for the catechesis in Portuguese and 1500 for the catechesis in Spanish

The catecheses will take place from August 2nd to 4th, from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. This new model aims to challenge young people to reflect on the main topics launched during Pope Francis’ pontificate. It also creates an experience in alignment with the Church’s synodal journey. The three Rise Up encounters have been planned in close collaboration with the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life. There are some 270 venues, organized by language – more than 30 languages!

The Schoenstatt group will be in the Church of St. Roque, in the center of Lisbon. Schoenstatt Father Rafael Mota, responsible for the group, says: “It is a very beautiful Jesuit church, with several relics of saints. 500 people are expected to participate in the catechesis in Portuguese. Outside the church, there will also be a catechesis in Spanish and 1,000 people are expected to attend. Including our coordination group, plus the participants, there should be about 1,700 people in the church”.

There will be three days of discussion on specific topics. Father Rafael explains, “In these three days we will touch on fundamental topics for Pope Francis: integral ecology, social friendship and mercy.”

The church of San Roque, site of the catechesis, was the first Jesuit church in Portugal and one of the first in the world. It was the main church of the Society of Jesus in Portugal for more than 200 years.

First day of catechesis: integral ecology

The encyclical Laudato Si is the document that will be considered for reflection on the first day. It begins with a Bible reading, then a study of excerpts from the document.

This is followed by a sort of television program in which the opinions of the young people will be heard. “Our role as moderators is to be facilitators and mediators of this debate, so that everyone can express themselves and comment on the issues that the Pope has spoken about on integral ecology. The idea is that all the opinions will be gathered at the end, during a panel discussion,” said Father Rafael.

Second day of catechesis: social friendship

On the second day, the topic will be social friendship, based on the Encyclical Fratelli Tutti.

“It begins with prayer, then there is a reading from the Bible, a little bit about the encyclical and a dialogue among all those who are present. Everyone gives their opinion, in a synodal way, and the opinions will be gathered. Afterwards, the bishop will conclude and then the Mass will take place,” explains Father Rafael.

The Schoenstatt Youth of Brazil is responsible for the moderation of the catechesis.

Third day of catechesis: mercy

Another topic that is very dear to the Pope’s heart is mercy. It is precisely for this reason that the last day is dedicated to this topic. The program for this day is different: there is no plenary session or long lectures, but rather an opportunity to make an examination of conscience and go to confession.

During each of the days, a house will be drawn up on a board, on which the opinions of the young people will be written. “We will hand these opinions over to the parish team, who will then take it over to a larger team, in a spirit of synodality. The idea is to listen to the thoughts of the young people on the three topics,” summarizes Father Rafael.

See more details of the Rise Up meetings here

The youth will set up a board with their reflections in a spirit of synodality.


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