World Youth Day: 96% of pilgrims think gatherings contribute to evangelization

World Youth Day: 96% of pilgrims think gatherings contribute to evangelization

Filipino pilgrims attend Mass at a parish church in the northern Portugal city of Porto on July 27, 2023. HANDOUT/JMJ LISBOA 2023

By Nicolás de Cárdenas

Catholic News Agency

August 1, 2023

According to an international survey, 96% of young people over the age of 18 who are attending World Youth Day (WYD) in Lisbon, Portugal, think these gatherings contribute a lot or quite a bit “to spreading faith in Jesus Christ.”

To the same extent, the participants think that the different WYDs help “reinforce the commitment of young people” (96%) and “make the Church’s message resound throughout the world” (95%).

Among the motivations for attending the international meeting with the pope is “encountering Jesus Christ” (94%) followed by “living new experiences” (92%). For 89% it’s a decisive factor to help “spread the message of Jesus Christ” and “to be at an event with Pope Francis.”

To a lesser extent, young people are coming to Lisbon to get to know different cultures, new people, be with like-minded people, or establish a dialogue with young people of different religions.

For the most part, WYD pilgrims consider that their Christian faith is a positive factor for maturing and being a better person, building a better world, showing solidarity, understanding others, and living a happy life.

According to the study, almost two-thirds of attendees are women (62%) and 4 out of 10 are between 18 and 25 years old, while almost a third are over 35. Eighty-two percent have higher education, 6 out of 10 have a job, and just over a third are students.

Regarding their religious practice, 83% go to Mass on Sundays, 65% pray daily, and 62% belong to a parish group.

In 36% of the cases, participants have been accompanied by a religious group or association, 29% by their parishes, and 27% are alone or with a group of friends.

For two-thirds of the attendees, it will be the first time they have participated in a WYD. Those who have gone to WYDs before consider their experiences at previous events to be very positive or positive (99%) and recognize that these experiences have had a great influence on their lives (92%).

The survey was prepared by the Spanish company GAD3 through online interviews conducted from July 12–20 with almost 12,600 young people from 100 countries.

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