St Patrick's College Strathfield

World Youth Day Pilgrimage


On July 21, a group of boys from Years 10 and 11, under the guidance of Mrs El-Hachem, embarked on an awe-inspiring journey alongside over a million pilgrims for World Youth Day 2023. The ultimate destination was Lisbon, Portugal but their journey commenced with a two-week exploration of Italy, a voyage enriched with spiritual encounters and sacred sites. Daily, they embarked on a profound odyssey weaving through historic treasures like the revered Colosseum, the Catacombs, the Vatican, the Basilica of St Paul-Without-The-Walls, and the Vatican Museums, each a breathtaking testament to history.

The group then went on to explore Assisi, Siena, Florence and Padua, paying homage to a number of saints along the way. Venice was next with its ethereal beauty where they marvelled at the multi-domed Basilica of St Mark.

Upon reaching Portugal, a second group of our boys joined, led by Mr Milheiro and Mr Bottalico. An electrifying atmosphere enveloped them, as hundreds of thousands of young pilgrims converged with a shared faith. The essence of unity became palpable – unity in purpose, faith and a collective pursuit of spiritual awakening. The climactic vigil beneath Lisbon’s stars culminated in a transformative dawn Mass presided over by Pope Francis. Amid diverse cultures, a powerful and exhilarating spiritual connection solidified, underscoring the potency of faith and fellowship on a global scale.

The following days unfolded as a reflective retreat in Fatima. Exploring this humble town housing an awe-inspiring Basilica dedicated to Our Lady, the group delved into the history of her apparitions to three shepherd children. The Basilica, structurally and architecturally majestic, held an indelible charm amplified by its history.

From ancient basilicas to vibrant World Youth Day assemblies, this wasn’t a mere journey; it was a symphony of faith, fun and friendships. It was a voyage that the group will hold dear in their hearts, a tapestry woven with blessings, memories and the hope that all youths can experience the magic of a World Youth Day at least once in their lifetime.