The next World Youth Day (WYD) will be held in Portugal in 2022. In brief, WYD is a Catholic Youth Festival that was introduced by the late Pope St. John Paul II in the 1980s.
The most immediate WYD was held in Panama in 2019 under the theme “Behold I am the handmaid of the LORD let it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38.The entire programme was focused on being fully surrendered to God and saying yes to His will. Pope Francis’s final message at the WYD included a reminder to all youth that we are the now of God.
As is usual, the venue for the next WYD was announced during the closing mass. The next venue is Portugal. The dates, theme and other details are yet to be announced. But from now till then, it’s basically about three years plus.
So a few thoughts. Portugal is quite close to Africa so it should be relatively less expensive. I want to propose that youth in Ghana decide to attend the WYD 2022 either as a volunteer or participant.
Whether you’re a student or a worker, it is possible to raise funds, save or be sponsored to attend the WYD. Although on the face value it seems expensive, it’s a very life changing experience which I believe every Catholic should have. Many parishes and dioceses in Ghana sponsor active youth to WYD. It’s important to start early; you can save daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly according to your strength. You can also raise funds from family, friends and other benefactors if need be.
The experience of travelling, the opportunity to experience the Catholic faith in another country, becoming a member of a Catholic family in another country, meeting and interacting with new people, sharing your faith with others and seeing the universality of the church are among some of the benefits of participating in WYD. There are many other benefits.
And the location! Portugal is old Europe so it will be pretty exciting to travel and see. In addition, because of the Schengen visa it will be pretty easy to potentially see a few other places such as Lourdes in France, a site of Marian apparitions. Of course, Fatima is also in Portugal so it’ll be great to visit.
You can go as an individual, with the Archdiocese of Accra, the Ghana National Catholic Youth Council (GHANCYC) or with a private agency organizing a WYD trip such as Safe Life Experience Consult in Ghana.
Try to explore the available options and choose what’s best for you.
A key thing to remember is to start getting your documents ready. You’ll need a visa which is quite a laborious process especially in developing countries where you need to show your social and economic ties to your country before you can be considered for a visa. So you’ll need your birth certificate, your marriage certificate if you are married, your bank account statements (which should be quite substantial; even if you’re a student please try to engage in some bank transactions). You would also need letters from your school (if you’re a student), your workplace (if you’re a worker) and your company if you’re self employed. You also need to add your company documents if you’re self employed. Salary slips may also be needed.
Angela Azumah Alu, 12/04/2019, Legon