The confirmation was made during a private meeting between Cardinal António Marto and Pope Francis, held today at the Vatican. “Throughout our conversation, which lasted about 30 minutes, the Holy Father explained to me his desire to, on that occasion, also make a pilgrimage to Fatima” said António Marto. “It was a very cordial meeting, in which I expressed thanks to the Pope for his testimony of hope and encouragement in this difficult time that the world is going through” says D. António Marto.

The bishop of Leiria-Fátima adds that, during the hearing, both “exchanged impressions” about the pandemic in Portugal and “about the effects that it has had on the life of the Diocese and of the Sanctuary of Fátima”.

On 12 March, Pope Francis had already announced this intention to the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, also announcing a visit to Fátima “It was, as it had been five years ago, an occasion to see how the Pope is attentive to everything. He spoke, of course, about going to Portugal in 2023, to Lisbon and Fátima during the World Youth Days”, said the head of state.

World Youth Day is the largest event organised by the Catholic Church. The announcement of the choice of Lisbon to host the Day was made on 27 January, 2019, in Panama City. Initially scheduled for August 2022, the Covid-19 pandemic caused WYD to be postponed for one year. Portugal will be the second Portuguese-speaking country, after Brazil, to host a World Youth Day, created in 1985 by Pope John Paul II (1920-2005).