by Clyde Ericson Nolasco
prayers from Lisbon2023.org
Every World Youth Day (WYD), the local organizers present patrons, canonized saints or saints-to-be, to serve as model and inspiration as they celebrate their youth. At most times, the patrons were born in the city hosting the WYD.
For this edition of WYD, thirteen were selected. They are the following:
1. St John Paul II - Born as Karol Wojtyla, he was elected Pope at the age of 58 and took the name Pope John Paul II. In 1984, he established the World Youth Day (WYD), the world's largest gathering of young people fostering faith in Jesus through cultural immersion and catechesis. He died in 2005 and was canonized in 2014.
2. St. John Bosco - Popularly known as Don Bosco, he is an Italian priest born in 1851. Inspired by his daily contact with orphans and abandoned youth, he founded the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales now known as the Salesians. This congregation ministers to young people through schools and parishes.
3. St. Vincent - He is the patron saint of Lisbon. He was born in Huesca into a Christian family. He was condemned to death during the reign of Emperor Diocletian. He was imprisoned then later on tortured on a gridiron. After being martyred, ravens saved his body from being devoured by vultures.
4. St. Anthony - Known as St. Anthony of Padua, he is also called St. Anthony of Lisbon. He is a Portuguese priest of the Franciscan Order born in Lisbon in 1195 and died in Padua in 1231. Catholics would turn to him for help when they are losing something thus he is the patron of lost things.
5. St. Bartholomew of the Martyrs - Born in Lisbon as Bartolomeu Fernandes, he entered the Dominican Order at the age of 14. He was ordained bishop in 1559 and in the same year, received the pallium of Archbishop of Braga. The people recognize him as the “holy archbishop, father of the poor and the sick.”
6. St. John de Brito - Also known as Arul Anandar, he was born in Lisbon in 1647 and from a noble family. He is a Jesuit missionary and a martyr. For Indian Catholics, he is the "the Portuguese St Francis Xavier." He died in 1693 and was canonized in 1947 by Pope Pius XII.
7. Blessed Joana of Portugal - Declared “Blessed Joan of Portugal” by Pope Innocent XII in 1693, she was born in 1452. She’s a candidate to be a queen of Portugal but rejected being a royal princess and opted for a life dedicated to Jesus and His passion. She entered the cloister at the age of 19 and died at the age of 38 due to sickness.
8. Blessed João Fernandes - He is a Jesuit missionary born in Lisbon in 1551. He was 19 and a novice when en route to Brazil off the coast of the Canary Islands was captured and martyred along with 39 other missionaries. They were attacked by Huguenot pirates, including their leader Father Ignacio de Azevedo.
9. Blessed Maria Clara of the Child Jesus - Born as Libania Do Carmo Galvao Mexia De Maura Telles Albuquerque, she is the founder of Franciscan Hospitaller Sisters of the Immaculate Conception. Libania was orphaned at the age of 14 and later on entered the Capuchin Sisters in 1867.
10. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati - Born in Turin in 1902, Blessed Pier joined the Dominican Laity at the age of 21. He was very active in various church organizations and charity works. He died of a severe illness in 1925. He is said to be “a global patron and companion for youth and young adults.”
11. Blessed Marcel Callo - Born in 1921 in France, he was an altar server and scout for several years. He was a member of Young Catholic Workers (YCW). He suffered harsh working conditions and even suffered depression. In 1945, he died of dysentery at a concentration camp in Gestapo after being arrested for being “too Catholic.”
12. Blessed Chiara Badano - Blessed Chiara was born in 1971 in Savona, Italy. In her high school years, she was introduced to the Focolare Movement. During that time, she was diagnosed with a serious brain tumor. She offered her sufferings to Jesus. She died in 1990.
13. Blessed Carlo Acutis - Known as the “millennial saint,” Blessed Carlo was born in 1991. He was into computers to the extent of putting up a website dedicated to devotion to the Holy Eucharist. In 2006, signs of leukemia appeared. He succumbed to death in 2006. He is also known as a patron of the internet.
May all these saints and blessed inspire our young people to pursue a life dedicated to Jesus, especially those who are participating in the World Youth 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal!