World Youth Day 2023

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WYD Initial Communication 

Youth Code of Conduct 

Young Adult Code of Conduct 

Adult Code of Conduct 

Payment Agreement 

Pilgrim Contract



What is World Youth Day?


Since 1986, the Holy Father has invited youth and young adults to gather periodically with him around the world in an epic event known as World Youth Day. Though the title indicates a “day,” it is really a week-long life-changing experience of the diversity and richness of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis has invited youth and young adults from across the world to the 16th World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal. Once again, the Diocese of Richmond will be forming a pilgrimage, along will millions of other Catholics from around the world.  The official website for WYD Lisbon has been released (


For World Youth Day 2023, the Diocese is sponsoring two options:

  • CORE PILGRIMAGE: July 28-August 7, 2023.  The core pilgrimage that includes a day and a half at the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima followed by full participation in the World Youth Day festivities.  This option is estimated to cost roughly $4,000 per person.
  • EXTENDED PILGRIMAGE: July 24-August 7, 2023.  An extended pilgrimage that starts with visits to the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes as well as the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.  This option also includes the entire core pilgrimage to Fatima and World Youth Day.   This option is estimated to cost roughly $5,000 per person.


Who can attend?


The pilgrimage is for both youth and young adults. For the purposes of this pilgrimage, youth and young adult are defined as follows:


Youth Pilgrim Young Adult Pilgrim
At least 16-years-old by time of departure Between 18-35 years old at time of departure
Will be in high school in 2023 (including graduating from high school in the spring/summer of 2023) At least 1 full year out of high school


What about chaperones for youth?


We will be traveling as a diocesan delegation throughout this pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Lisbon. For every parish sending youth, there must be a group leader attending (either the youth minister, the pastor, or their delegate) who will serve as the main point of contact.  All parishes sending youth must have at least one chaperone (at least 21 years old) for every four youth on this international pilgrimage.  At no time will youth be allowed to venture anywhere without a chaperone, and chaperones must choose the same pilgrimage option as the youth they are chaperoning.  Parishes can work together and share chaperones as long as the 1:4 ratio of chaperone to youth is in place.


I want to register as a young adult, do I need to be part of a group?


Young adult pilgrims do not need to have a parish group leader and are welcome to register as an individual!  Young adults will be with the diocesan group for all main pilgrimage events and liturgies but will have free times where they are encouraged to explore the local sites in small groups.  They will check in daily with a diocesan representative.


How do I register, and when is the deadline?


Visit to register online and to download the pilgrim contract.  A non-refundable initial deposit of $500, a completed online registration, and a notarized pilgrim contract is required to secure a spot on the pilgrimage.  Notarized pilgrim contracts are to be postmarked within 2 weeks of a pilgrim completing the online registration.  Space is limited and can be closed off without prior notification.  After our reserved slots are filled, we cannot guarantee there will be availability to join the pilgrimage.  Do not move forward on attaining a passport or travel insurance before you are officially registered!


All pilgrims are eligible for a discount off the total cost of the pilgrimage as follows:

  • Initial deposit and signed contract postmarked by July 31, 2022 $500 discount
  • Initial deposit and signed contract postmarked on or after August 1, 2022 No discount


What will be the total cost of the pilgrimage, and how do I pay?


The cost can change depending on several factors. The package includes air travel, ground transportation, lodging, most meals, and World Youth Day event registration. Each parish group/young adult pilgrim needs to decide which pilgrimage option they are registering for from the start; changes cannot be guaranteed post-registration.  The total cost of the Core Pilgrimage is expected to be roughly $4,000; the total cost of the Extended Pilgrimage is expected to be roughly $5,000.


Pilgrims are encouraged to bring spending money in addition to the cost of the pilgrimage. Parishes and individuals can organize fundraising efforts to cover most or all of the cost. The Office for Evangelization can provide a list of ideas for fundraising.


Pilgrims can pay either by check or credit card in one lump sum or in installments. There are three payment options:

  • OPTION #1: Pay in full at time of registration.
  • OPTION #2: Pay $500 deposit at time of registration, then pay 50% of the remaining balance on January 31, 2023 and 50% of the remaining balance on June 30, 2023.
  • OPTION #3: Pay $500 deposit at time of registration, then set up a custom payment plan with the Office for Evangelization.

Once you register online, you agree to be responsible for paying the Catholic Diocese of Richmond the full amount of either $4,000 for the Core Pilgrimage or $5,000 for the Extended Pilgrimage.  More information on payments is located within the notarized contract agreement on our website (


Cancellations & Substitutions:  The initial $500 deposit is not refundable.  If you need to cancel for any reason, we cannot guarantee a refund.  The possibility of substitutions will be determined on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with vendor policies.  If a substitution is possible, we will work to refund the money you have contributed up to that point.  All cancellations and substitutions must be submitted by participants to the Office for Evangelization in writing.


What about travel insurance?


Pilgrims are highly encouraged to purchase travel insurance through our tour company, Dube Travel.  Travel insurance is NOT included in the cost of the pilgrimage.  Our tour company strongly recommends the Classic with Cancel Anytime Travel Insurance, particularly for pilgrims who choose not to be vaccinated against COVID-19.  This insurance will allow you to back out of the trip for any reason up to 48 hours prior to departure and receive a refund of 80% of trip cost.  Please note, this NEEDS to be purchased within 2 weeks of registration!  If you do NOT purchase the insurance, our tour company will require a signed waiver that you acknowledge the financial risk and that all payments will be non-refundable.  Please contact Dube Travel at 1-800-TRY-DUBE or for more information on trip insurance.


What about travel in Europe and safety concerns?


Safety is obviously a concern whenever one travels abroad. The Office for Evangelization partners with Dube Travel, an organization that has years of experience in international travel and specifically with World Youth Day.


August in Portugal is the warmest month, with the high being 82 degrees, the low being 64 degrees, and very low precipitation.  Lisbon is one of the predominant tourist locations in Portugal.  The official language of Portugal is Portuguese, although you will find English, Spanish, and French spoken to some degree in popular tourist areas.  The currency in Portugal is the Euro.  Current exchange rates can be found here:


Our diocesan delegation is focused on the safety of all the pilgrims involved with the group. We want everyone to have a grace-filled pilgrimage and return home safely. Because of the valid concerns regarding a pilgrimage to any foreign country, we will be focused on group activities and traveling together as much as possible.


Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before the trip. These vaccines include the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.  In addition, the CDC recommends getting the Hepatitis A and B vaccinations and COVID-19.  More information can be found at


When it comes to COVID preparations and concerns, what do I need to know?


We cannot fully predict what the situation with COVID will be at the time of our pilgrimage.  Currently in Europe, COVID-19 vaccination cards are often required to enter some museums and restaurants.  The COVID-19 vaccine or proof of negative test are currently required for air travel, and France and Spain do currently require COVID-19 vaccinations.  Our tour company, Dube Travel, will require proof of vaccinations prior to travel to insure all documentation is valid and ready to go.  If you are not vaccinated or planning on getting vaccinated, please make sure to purchase travel insurance that covers that possibility.


We will update pilgrims on the expectations regarding COVID as we learn what will apply to our World Youth Day activities.


How do I get my Passport?  Is a Travel Visa required?


All US Citizens must have a valid Passport for travel abroad. Passport must be valid over six months following the date of your return to the United States. The cost for obtaining a passport is roughly $145, and it can take up to 14 weeks to issue. The State Department has more information on how to apply for or renew a passport ( You can also apply for your passport at your local Post Office.


Portugal does not require US citizens to have a Visa.  (  For those participating in the Extended Pilgrimage, Spain and France also do not require US citizens to have a Visa.


In order to register for the trip, you must already have a passport or be ready to quickly begin the application process.  If you have a passport, the registration will ask you for passport details; if you do not have one yet, you will need to acknowledge that you are applying for a passport at least 6 months before the pilgrimage departs.


What does the itinerary look like?


For those joining us for the Extended Pilgrimage, our trip starts on Monday, July 24, 2023.  We will leave from Dulles International Airport on an overnight flight and fly into Toulouse, France.  From there, we will take a chartered motor coach to Lourdes, where we will spend almost two days at the famous grotto.  We will celebrate Mass, take a guided walking tour of the town, and visit the baths where hundreds of miraculous cures have taken place.


On Thursday, July 27, we will leave Lourdes and depart for Burgos.  Upon arrival, we will attend Mass at the Cathedral, see the highlights of the city, and spend some free time enjoying the atmosphere.  The next day, we will journey to Santiago de Compostela, where we will visit the beautiful cathedral where Saint James is buried and then explore the city that is the traditional end to the Camino walk.  On Saturday, July 29, these pilgrims will head to Fatima to the Dube Travel Retreat.


The Core Pilgrimage starts on Friday, July 28, 2023.  These pilgrims will leave from Dulles International Airport and take an overnight flight into Lisbon, Portugal.  After landing, these pilgrims will head to Fatima to the Dube Travel Retreat.


At this point, all of our Diocese of Richmond pilgrims will be together for the remainder of the pilgrimage.  After a Saturday filled with a guided visit to Santarem (the location of the Eucharistic Miracle), Mass, and the Dube Travel Retreat and Welcome WYD Rally, we will spend the night near Fatima.  After an early breakfast, we will spend Sunday in the Fatima area, where we will walk the stations of the cross to Aljustrel (the village of the 3 children), visit the Chapel of the Apparitions, and participate in the candlelight procession.


We will head to Lisbon on Monday, July 31, where we will get a brief city tour, check into our hotel for the remainder of the trip, and spend free time exploring the city!  Tuesday will be filled with a walking tour of the old city, a visit to the Church of Saint Anthony, and the Opening Mass of World Youth Day 2023.


Wednesday, August 2 through Friday, August 4 will follow a routine.  Catechesis sessions will be held each morning, following by evening cultural events.  On Thursday, we officially welcome the Holy Father to Lisbon.  On Friday, we take part in the Stations of the Cross with the Holy Father.  Saturday, August 5 will have the traditional walk to the vigil site, and Sunday, August 6 will have the closing Mass with the Holy Father and over a million pilgrims.  We return home on Monday, August 7, flying into Dulles International Airport.


Where will I be staying?


While on this pilgrimage and during the WYD activities, the diocesan delegation will be staying at 3 and 4-star hotels located near our main activities.


The highlight of World Youth Day is the vigil Eucharistic Adoration on Saturday night and the closing Mass on Sunday morning, where pilgrims typically hike out to a site outside of the city and spend the night sleeping outside in sleeping bags on the ground.  This is the only night where we will not be staying in a hotel.  Pilgrims will be given packing lists early on so they know what to bring specifically for this 24-hour outdoor experience in addition to the rest of the pilgrimage.


Are there any physical considerations to take into account?


World Youth Day is a very physically-demanding pilgrimage.  Expect to walk roughly 10 miles each day, to take public transportation, to sleep outside during the closing vigil, and to sit on the ground for hours in any and all weather during the main liturgies.  You will be on your feet and outside often!  Part of the experience is literally walking with and sitting next to each other as well as thousands of pilgrims from other countries.


Are there any meetings before the trip happens that I need to attend?


There will be important information to share with the group before we leave for World Youth Day, and we want to get to know each other as a group so we are not traveling as strangers!  Please plan on 3 meetings prior to the pilgrimage:

  • Wednesday, October 5, 2022 at 7pm: WYD Orientation Zoom Meeting (Zoom meeting to share the planned itinerary in detail and to cover basic travel questions)
  • Saturday, May 6, 2023 all-day: WYD Pre-Trip Mini Pilgrimage (Day-long retreat and mini pilgrimage on a Saturday in Richmond)
  • Thursday, July 13, 2023 at 7pm: WYD Final Details Meeting (Zoom meeting to walk through last-minute questions)


Our tour company, Dube Travel, is able to offer us an optional interest meeting for those who want to find out more before registering.  This meeting will be held virtually on Monday, March 28, 2022 at 7pm.  You can sign up here:  (Email if you would like a link to the recording.)


What are the Codes of Conduct for this event?


Youth, Young Adults, and Adult Chaperones all have specific codes of conduct for this event.  Please download your corresponding Code of Conduct and read through it carefully at time of registration.



Contact the Office for Evangelization at or 804-622-5159.