Four years to organize a six-day event that is expected to bring more than a million people to five municipalities in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area. The number of participants is approaching 350,000 and the number of rosaries is approaching 600,000. The number of hosts is approaching one million.
fter four years of waiting and one postponement, thousands of volunteers, pilgrims and clergy are arriving in Lisbon this week for World Youth Day (WYD).
In the organization of the various WYD events, everything is counted from thousands to millions, except the candles, which will be zero. Registrations are reaching 350,000, but between a million and a million and a half participants are expected.
Mobility, food and health are fundamental systems for the logistics of the Journey, but how many objects and structures are needed for more than half of Lisbon’s population to be added to the metropolitan area during that week?
How do you ensure that nothing is missing? This is the question that Renascença asked the logistical direction of WYD. “It’s a big challenge”, Jorge Messias begins by answering.
“The work needs to be done as a team, for the good of those taking part and for the city itself.”
Starting with who organizes the event: there are 300 volunteers working with the logistical directorate, a group that will work directly with the parish, vicarial and diocesan organizing committees. There are also external teams and partners to ensure transportation and food, for example.
Although the number of registrants is increasing by the day as WYD approaches, more than 400,000 pilgrim kits are being prepared. More than 600,000 rosaries will also be distributed.
Already the wafers made especially for WYD exceed one million. Part of these were produced using two tons of Alentejo wheat donated by the National Association of Producers of Protein, Oilseeds and Cereals and are being produced by the Poor Clare sisters of the Monastery of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in Estrela.
People and events
Overall, about 30,000 volunteers are involved in this WYD, who are distributed among the various teams of the organization.
The number of pilgrims is expected to increase throughout the week, with around 750,000 people expected in Parque Eduardo VII and one million in Parque Tejo.
The organization reveals to Renascença that, so far, about 1,700 pilgrims and volunteers with disabilities and reduced mobility are registered. For these pilgrims there are two “disability attention zones”, one in Parque Tejo and another in Parque Eduardo VII.
The same source adds that the team of volunteers includes around 150 sign language and international gesture interpreters, as well as translators. Translations will be made in the five official languages of the day: Portuguese, French, English, Spanish and Italian.
Although there are five official languages, the WYD anthem is translated into nine languages.
WYD has already received applications from all countries in the world, except the Maldives. So far, the registrations of the 204 countries have not been finalized. In fact, of the more than 600 thousand registrations that began on June 30, just over 300 thousand were finalized. A few days before the day, Bishop Américo Aguiar shared that “we are reaching 360,000”.
In the latest tally released by the organization, Portugal was not the country with the most registrants, but the fourth, after Spain, Italy and France. Portugal was also not the country with the most bishops registered, but fifth, after Italy, Spain, France and the USA.
Around 2,500 young people from 35 countries will take part in the Youth Festival, which will spread cultural events across five AML municipalities (Lisbon, Loures, Oeiras, Cascais and Sintra). In total, there will be more than 500 events, 300 of which will be concerts, taking place in more than 100 spaces and nine stages.
Until the first day of the Day, the diocesan days are taking place. About 67,000 young people from 900 pilgrim groups are participating in this initiative in 17 dioceses across the country, between July 26 and 31.
By the end of June, around 2,000 media professionals had already completed their accreditation to accompany the day in Portugal and abroad. This process only closed on July 11.
There are 150 confessionals to receive young people in the Park of Forgiveness, located in the City of Joy, in Belém, between August 1 and 4. The structures were made by inmates in the prisons of Paços de Ferreira, Porto and Coimbra, and cost about 43 thousand euros.
So far 2,600 priests have registered to administer the sacrament of reconciliation in these confessionals, in several languages. Pope Francis will also be in the City of Joy on August 4, starting at 9 a.m., to make the confession of some young people.
About 10,000 priests are registered to participate in the final Mass of WYD, which will take place on Sunday morning, August 6, at Campo da Graça in Tejo Park.
Part of them will attend the celebration from the altar-palace, which, after the redesign and a 30% reduction in investment, will have a final cost of €2.9 million and a capacity for 1,240 people, instead of the initial 2,000.
Parque Tejo, called Campo da Graça for the day, is a space the size of 100 soccer pitches.
The field hospital built there is prepared to take care of 100 pilgrims a day, on the last two days of the journey, or 200 pilgrims. In this structure, there will always be about 30 professionals in each of the units, to avoid people in need having to be sent to hospitals.
In all, this device, which will also be supported by ambulances and partners, involves 500 operatives.
There will be four field hospitals operating during the first week of August for the day and 80 medical teams.
Five “Calm Zones” have also been set up to monitor and provide mental health care to participants. They will be located in five tents at the two main venues of the day, Parque Eduardo VII and Parque Tejo. Allocated to this service are 30 mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists and other professionals.
There are also 250 nurses registeredas volunteers, who will provide health care at various WYD events, in conjunction with Primary Care and Hospitals.
Health services will be complemented by the SNS which, the Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday, will offer care in 69 languages during the day, in simultaneous translation in collaboration with the High Commission for Migration.
The altar-stage designed for Colina do Encontro, located in Parque Eduardo VII, had a total cost of 450 thousand euros. The completion of this stage, which has an area of 960 square meters, was scheduled for the end of the second half of July. However, this Thursday, it was still not completed.
Accommodation and food
There were 289,000 young people who requested food at registration, about 90% of those who completed this process on June 30. For the food kits of these young people, the supply of three million meals is contracted, a source from the organization assures Renascença .
A catering network has also been set up, which includes 38 restaurants, including several chains, extending the catering network to various locations in Lisbon and neighboring municipalities. In all, 1,482 restaurants are being validated, confirms the same source. The fountains and drinking fountains in the city of Lisbon will also be reinforced, doubling from 200 to 400.
For pilgrims with accommodation, who on 30 June totaled 214,500 completed registrations, about 4,600 showers are available. At that date, 70% of registered pilgrims needed accommodation.
The organization guarantees more than 470,000 overnight places for pilgrims registered for the Day. Of these, around 24,000 depend on host families.
Transport, mobility and security
The organization of WYD is counting on a reinforcement of 340,000 daily seats on public transport in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area on weekdays and 780,000 on the weekend, to ensure the movement of people.
The government has authorized €3.3 million to cover 40% of the cost of pilgrim passes, which are included in the kits. These passes have three modalities of 16, nine and three days.
Despite this facility, the expectation, the organization tells Renascença, is that each pilgrim will walk between 17 and 20 kilometers per day.
“This is what the history of other WYDs tells us,” explains Jorge Messias. The mobility plan has been designed so that young people who want to travel between the WYD venues can do so on foot with a delay of 30 to 60 minutes. To cover the distance between the two main venues, the Tagus Park and the Edurado VII Park, it is necessary to walk about 10 km, which takes approximately two hours.
A number of volunteers and pilgrims will travel to Lisbon in groups. Thus, 4,000 buses are expected to arrive. A total of 6,200 parking spaces have been reserved for these vehicles, which could rise to 7,200.
The larger events, taking place at the two main WYD venues, Parque Eduardo VII and Parque Tejo, will require the closure of five blue line metro stations (Avenida, Marquês, Parque, Picoas and Moscavide) and three Azambuja line train stations (Moscavide, Sacavém and Bobadela).
At Carris, 28 routes, two streetcars and three elevators will be suspended from July 29, although with variations over the days, depending on the area of the city of Lisbon. Twenty-five buses and one streetcar will have route changes on August 1, 3 and 4, while 17 buses will see their itinerary diverted or divided on August 5 and 6.
Lisbon has a total of 2,973 Gira bike docks. However, 31 stations are located in the yellow zones next to Parque Eduardo VII and Parque Tejo, which will be closed on August 1, 3 and 4, and 5 and 6, respectively. The stations located here have up to 33 docks each.
In security, 16,000 security forces are expected to be involved, a number that could rise to 20,000.
To ensure the efficient movement of people within and between the WYD venues, some 15,000 materials, such as signs and posters, have been developed that will enable a good wayfinding system.
As WYD approaches, the numbers are adding up and changing. A WYD source assured Renascença that all the data is open until the last day.
Since the beginning of the year, the total cost of hosting the event has been estimated at around €160 million. Carlos Moedas anticipates an “absolutely extraordinary” return for the city of Lisbon, which could result in “200, 300 or 400 million” euros.
Of the 35 million invested by Lisbon City Council, the mayor reinforces, 25 stay in the city.
The remaining budget is distributed by the Government, which has put forward €36 million, the Church, which has invested €80 million, and the Loures City Council, to a maximum of €10 million.