A new World Youth Day (WYD) took place from August 1-6 in Lisbon, Portugal and Laudato Si’ Movement was at the forefront of the event that brought more than 1.5 million young people from all over the world together with Pope Francis.

“A very Laudato Si’ WYD”, according to Regina Luján, a member of the communications team, who covered the entire schedule of daily events in the press room. LSM partnered with the General Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) of the Order of Friars Minor.

Among the registered volunteers, more than 90 were at the service of LSM and JPIC, collaborating in the various activities and providing support to the organizers. “Sharing in person with volunteers from our network, who are animators or members of circles and chapters, was very enriching because it is a way to see off-screen that the movement is something that stirs the lives of its members, and that there are many people committed to the care of creation,” said Domenica Reyes, project manager of the LSM communication team.

The WYD organizers made sustainability a priority, which was reflected in concrete actions, such as training volunteers in Laudato Si’ teaching, waste separation, a carbon footprint meter for pilgrims and the planting of more than 18,000 trees, among other things.

“Unforgettable, unique and indescribable moments,” described Andrea Castillo, a member of the Social Media team. Above all, the opportunity to see the Pope up close was one of the most special moments for her, as it was for Belén Girón, also a member of the communications team: “When I stood in front of him I felt like crying,” she said.

Before the start of the day, on Monday, July 31, the 4th International Conference on the Care of Creation was held, in which more than 400 young people prepared a statement that was later delivered to Pope Francis.

In the City of Joy, LSM and JPIC had a booth that constantly received pilgrims, and gathered folks to paint a mural depicting the history of climate change in Lisbon. They also held activities at St. Anthony’s Church and the fourth rendition of the Serata Laudato Si’, an art and music festival.

Another highlight was the screening of the film The Letter during the prayer vigil with the Pope, with more than 1.5 million young people present. “After years of working constantly with social networks, having the opportunity to disconnect and connect the heart with the Holy Spirit and the 1.5 million youth present at the vigil was the strength I needed to continue my path of eco-conversion,” said Regina.

“Joy is missionary, joy is not just for one person, it is for sharing something with others,” said Pope Francis during the Saturday Vigil. For Andrea this sums up her days on the journey, “because every person I met always showed me a heart ready to help, to embrace and bring joy at every moment,” she mentioned.

“Every WYD is different. In this one there were many activities to do and that created a great connection that helped our encounter with Jesus to be stronger,” said Domenica at the conclusion of WYD. Regina added: “We are not alone, we have never been alone and in this WYD we were reminded of that. The road to a Laudato Si’ WYD took its first and very important step. Now we must continue walking together.”