“To date we have surpassed 200,000 registrations, but this is neither a cause for joy nor sadness, on the contrary, the history of registrations is like a roller coaster. There is a rise until Christmas, then it goes down, with Easter there is an immediate rise and then it goes down and in the summer there is a race for registrations, and then it goes down, this is what happened in the previous editions”, Bishop Américo Aguiar told journalists.
The president of the WYD Foundation, who was speaking after signing a protocol with the Associação da Hotelaria, Restauração e Similares de a Portugal (AHRESP) to identify a network of restaurants and the like to provide meals to pilgrims during WYD, explained that this number of registrations is “just a sign of what begins to be the sense of participation of youth around the world”.
“More than the number itself, I am more excited by the diversity of the countries, we have more than 100 countries with groups that have signalled their desire to register, and even countries that we find strange at first sight, such as Pakistan or Arab countries”, he stressed.
Américo Aguiar also said that the Foundation never spoke about the number of pilgrims who might participate in WYD “so as not to create false expectations”.
Regarding the accommodation process, the official explained that it will be differentiated, but privilege will be given to the reception of pilgrims in family homes.
Bishop Américo Aguiar said that families will have to offer breakfast and can only accommodate two or more pilgrims.
WYD is the biggest event organised by the Catholic Church, with the announcement of the choice of Lisbon to host this edition made on January 27, 2019, in Panama City.
Initially scheduled for August 2022, WYD was postponed for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
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).