In Portugal, Pope Francis will sow seeds of his legacy

by | Jul 31, 2023 | Religion

VATICAN CITY (RNS) — When Pope Paul VI became the first pontiff to set foot in Portugal in 1967, the church and world were in turmoil. Deep fractures spurred by the Second Vatican Council, the massive 1962-65 summit aimed at reconciling the church with the growing secularism of the time, commanded his attention. 
When Pope Francis visits Portugal for the World Youth Day celebration Wednesday (Aug. 2-6), he will lay the groundwork for another, potentially seismic, church event.
In October, the Vatican will host a gathering of bishops and lay Catholics, the synod on synodality, to address the main challenges facing the institution — from the sexual abuse crisis to the role of women and inclusion of LGBTQ faithful. 
Francis will address nearly 1 million Catholics gathered for World Youth Day, a festival initiated by Pope John Paul II in 1986 and centered around prayer and music. Considered the largest Catholic event in the world, the pontiff will have the opportunity over several days to meet and talk to young people between the ages of 16 and 35 from all over the world.
“I hope to see a seed of the world of the future in Lisbon,” Pope Francis said in a video message published July 27, in which he set his prayer in …

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