The journey of nearly 300 pilgrims from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend was an experience of a lifetime.
Photos by Nicole Hahn and Joshua Schipper
Pilgrims gathered at four different locations throughout the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend on the morning of Friday, July 28, to celebrate Mass, pick up their diocesan World Youth Day gear, and make sure paperwork was in order and passports were valid. Groups then boarded buses at St. Adalbert in South Bend, St. Vincent de Paul in Fort Wayne, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Fort Wayne, and St. Vincent de Paul in Elkhart, and headed to Chicago. Though a few of the 272 pilgrims from the diocese made their way to Portugal on their own, the rest of the group split up and boarded three different flights: one to Frankfurt, Germany, and then on to Porto, Portugal, one to Zurich, Switzerland, and then on to Porto, and one to Madrid, and then on to Porto.
By the time the flights all landed in Portugal, it was already the afternoon of Saturday, July 29. The groups once again boarded buses and headed straight to a private opening Mass at the beautiful church, Irmandade de Santo António dos Congregados. Following Mass, the groups split up again and headed to four different hotels in Porto for check-in and a welcome dinner.
On day three, Sunday, July 30, it was Mass with Bishop Rhoades in Fátima, Portugal, and then off to explore the Shrine of Fátima, including the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary and Basilica of the Holy Trinity for the nearly 300 pilgrims in Portugal for World Youth Day.
On Monday, July 31, the group of nearly 300 pilgrims visited churches and monasteries and had Mass with Bishop Rhoades at St. Anthony, the site of a Eucharistic miracle. The group visited Lisbon, Santarem, Igreja de Graca, Church of Santa Maria de Marvila, Praca Sa da Bandeira, Se Catredal, Batalha, Mosteiro da Batalha, and Alcobaca Monastery.
On Tuesday, August 1, the group had a few hours in the morning to explore. Later, the nearly 300 pilgrims from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend visited places including Santa Maria Maior (Cathedral), Igreja de Santo Antonio de Lisboa (Church of St. Anthony of Lisbon), and more holy places before attending the WYD Opening Mass at Edward VII Park “Colina do Encontro.”
On Wednesday, August 2, the nearly 300 pilgrims, including Bishop Rhoades, had their first day of “Rise Up” catechesis at the Church of Our Lady of the Incarnation. Bishop Rhoades and several of our pilgrims were interviewed for various national and international news outlets. The group then went to the WYDUSA Gathering for pilgrims featuring a Holy Hour led by Bishop Robert Barron at Parque da Quintas das Conchas e dos Lilases, Alameda das Linhas de Torres.
On Thursday, August 3, the nearly 300 pilgrims from the diocese had their second day of “Rise Up” catechesis at the Church of Our Lady of the Incarnation. It was a wonderful surprise for the group when they learned Bishop Robert Barron would be the Mass celebrant and speaker. Pilgrims then attended the papal welcome event at Edward VII Park “Colina do Encontro.”
On Friday, August 4, it was the final “Rise Up” catechesis at the Church of Our Lady of the Incarnation for the nearly 300 pilgrims from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. There was a little free time before the group headed off for Stations of the Cross led by Pope Francis at Edward VII Park “Colina do Encontro.”
Saturday, August 5, was one of the longest days for the nearly 300 pilgrims from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend who were in Portugal for World Youth Day. The group gathered in the hotel lobby in Lisbon and began the walking pilgrimage to the overnight vigil site. There was one stop for Mass with Bishop Rhoades at Igreja de São João de Deus (St. John of God). Following Mass, it was many miles of walking in the scorching sun to get to the Campo da Graça, located in the Parque Tejo-Trancão, to find a spot and set up for the night, which included a Vigil Prayer Service with Pope Francis that was attended by 1.5 million pilgrims.
With temperatures expected to top 110 degrees in the blazing sun on Sunday, August 6, it was a difficult but great decision for the nearly 300 pilgrims from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend to get up and begin walking back to the hotel before sunrise. Although the group missed morning Mass with Pope Francis, everyone made it back safely and had one of the most beautiful impromptu Masses with the diocesan priests that many had ever experienced. The pilgrims found a spot under shade trees just outside of Igreja de São João de Deus (St. John of God), where they had Mass the day before. People walking by on the streets even stopped to join Mass. It was so beautiful! With this being the last night before heading home, everyone enjoyed a farewell dinner at their separate hotels to end the evening.
It was still dark on Monday, August 7, when everyone boarded the buses to head to their airports in Porto, Portugal, and Madrid, Spain. For those on the flight from Porto to Madrid, it was an all-out sprint to catch the flight to Chicago. The group that took a bus from Lisbon to Madrid took time to celebrate Mass before boarding the plane to Munich, Germany, and then on to Chicago. Another group stopped in Zurich, Switzerland, to get to Chicago. Once back in Chicago, everyone boarded buses to head home. It was a whirlwind of a trip where the pilgrims experienced God in ways they never thought possible, felt the Holy Spirit move them, met and got to know people who will remain friends forever, got to know more priests, seminarians, sisters, adults, young adults, and young people from the diocese, and got to see Pope Francis in person!
The best news. Delivered to your inbox.
Subscribe to our mailing list today.