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Pope Francis hears young people’s confessions in Lisbon

Pope Francis hears the confession of a young pilgrim at World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal, Aug. 4, 2023. / Credit: Vatican Media

St. Louis, Mo., Aug 4, 2023 / 10:30 am (CNA).

As part of the Word Youth Day celebrations this week in Lisbon, Portugal, Pope Francis this morning heard the confessions of three young people in the Jardim Vasco da Gama, renamed Reconciliation Park or “Forgiveness Park” for World Youth Day.

The pope took about 10 total minutes to hear the private confessions of the young people while seated in one of the dozens of custom-built white confessions dotted around the park, the largest square on the Iberian Peninsula. He was assisted into the confessional while seated in his wheelchair.

Pope Francis prepares to hear confessions of young pilgrims at World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal, Aug. 4, 2023. Credit: Joao Lopes Cardoso/Flickr JMJ Lisboa 2023

The confessionals used in World Youth Day (approximately 150 in all) were built in three Portuguese prisons, following an agreement between the WYD Lisbon 2023 Foundation and the Directorate-General for Reinsertion and Prison Services, with the aim of valuing the professional skills of prisoners and contributing to their reintegration into society. The confessionals were made using recycled wood provided by the JMJ Lisboa 2023 Foundation.

The confessionals used at Reconciliation Park for World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal, were built in three Portuguese prisons. Credit: Natália Rebouta/Flickr/JMJ Lisboa 2023

According to TSF Radio Noticias, the pope heard the confessions of Francisco, 21, from Spain; Yesvi, 33, from Guatemala; and Samuel, 19, from Italy.

Pope Francis hears the confession of a young pilgrim at World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal, Aug. 4, 2023. Credit: Vatican Media

Later in the day, the pope met with Social and Charitable Assistance representatives at Serafina Parish Centre. The pontiff went off script to insist that Christian love must be tangibly lived out in the world and not remain a figment of people’s fantasies.

In the evening, the pope will pray the Stations of the Cross with the young people at Meeting Hill (Eduardo VII Park).

Tomorrow, Saturday, Aug. 5, Pope Francis is expected to travel by helicopter to Fátima to pray a rosary with sick people.

Pope Francis prepares to hear the confessions of a young pilgrim at World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal, Aug. 4, 2023. Credit: Joao Lopes Cardoso/Flickr JMJ Lisboa 2023

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