Vatican Confidential: Excitement builds for the 15th World Youth Day

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Over 300,000 young people hailing from all over the world will gather next week in Lisbon, Portugal for World Youth Day. They will follow the footsteps of the millions of others like them, who over the last 35 years, have succeeded in creating one of the Church's biggest events. 

These World Youth Day gatherings were all started by Pope St. John Paul II, who hosted the first ever international event dedicated to young Catholics in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1987. 

We are now just days away from the kickoff of the 15th international World Youth Day, where young people will spend five days networking with one another, listening to inspirational speakers and attending faith-based festivals, interactive sessions and even movies, including Rome Reports' own documentary titled “Francis! The Pope of Surprises.”

But, aside from all the activities, there is one motivating factor that underlies it all: everyone there wants to see Pope Francis. And they'll have plenty of opportunity to, despite the Pope's busy schedule. 

He'll be hearing confessions, leading Stations of the Cross, presiding over masses and holding many public ceremonies with the hundreds of thousands of youth. 

But of course he has more formal obligations too—like meeting with Bishops, the Portugese President and the Prime Minister. 

On one of the last days of World Youth Day, Pope Francis is going to Fatima, Portugal for a rosary and ceremony and to be with young people who are ill. Remember, the Pope has a special devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. He has even been there before, back in 2017 for the anniversary of the Fatima apparitions. 

While seeing the Pope face-to-face will undoubtedly be a special experience for everyone there, World Youth Day is also something that the Pope himself knew he couldn't miss. He has always insisted on attending, even despite his recent health issues.

I am ready. I already have everything in hand because I want to go. Some people think that because of my illness I cannot go, but the doctor told me that I can go, so I will be with you. Go ahead, young people, and do not listen to those who reduce life to ideas.

It looks like young people are not the only ones excited to be there, but the Pope is just as excited to see them. 

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