Several young people from St. Clare Parish in Waveland attended the 2023 World Youth Day festivities in Lisbon, Portugal. Cali Reinhart, Harmony Boyanton, Brailyn Hart, Ashton Hogue, Bradley Hogue, Brandon Hogue, Breanna Hogue and Briar Johnson, who is a member of Immaculate Conception Parish in Laurel. They were accompanied by seminarian Chris Collins and Shelby Martin, youth director at Our Lady of the Gulf Parish in Bay St. Louis.
The group attended opening ceremony with Pope Francis and were in the park’s main section. They were able to listen to the Pope’s message with translations from a radio station. At the opening ceremony, according to Reinhart, “The Pope’s message reminded us of God’s immense love for us and he told us to show that to the world.”
The group is pictured after praying Morning Prayer with their World Youth Day Magnificat books, which were provided by St. Clare Parish and pastor Father Jacob Matthew Smith. Pilgrims say they we were blessed to be able to start and end their day with prayer.
Pope Francis passed by the Diocese of Biloxi pilgrims during the Way of the Cross.
The group visited the City of Joy, where they were able to explore different vocations and Catholic organizations from around the world. They are pointing to a pin on the map representing the Diocese of Biloxi.
They also visited Mosteiro dos Jeronimos next to the City of Joy.
The pilgrims visited the Fatima apparition site where they explored the temporary rosary exhibit, prayed at the apparition pavilion, and attended Mass.
Cali Reinhart, Shelby Martin, Chris Collins, and Briar Johnson attended the Rise Up catechesis sessions. During these morning sessions, they listened to a speaker and attended Mass with other English speakers. “These sessions em-powered us to be stewards of the earth, love God more deeply, and make time for prayer in our everyday lives,” said Reinhart. “At the last session, we were able to fall on God’s mercy while at least 100 priests heard confession. It was such a beautiful experience.”
The group prayed Morning Prayer at the Torre de Belem in Lisbon.
Hogue called Fatima “The most remarkable place I’ve ever laid eyes on. Fatima truly carried the energy of the Holy Spirit and beauty of many miracles. It will forever hold a special place in my heart as one of the most breathtaking experiences in my life. It was such a blessing to be able to go to World Youth Day 2023 in Portugal.”