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WYD 2023 was grace-filled moment: Filipina volunteer

Elizabeth Carranza was able to meet and talk with Cardinal Luis AntonioTagle in Portugal. He was her spiritual director before he became bishop. (Photo Supplied)

"An experience that I will forever treasure with joy and gratitude; for all that has been done, thanks; for all that will be, yes," says a youth who volunteered from the Philippines for the recently concluded 2023 World Youth Day (WYD) held in Lisbon, Portugal.

"Pope Francis had a special meeting with us volunteers primarily to thank us for the work that we have all done for the WYD," recalled Elizabeth Carranza, who works at Laudato Si' Movement Pilipinas, a Catholic environmental NGO.

She is from Sorsogon Province on Luzon Island. She was the former chairperson of the Save Sierra Madre Network.

"I have seen Pope Francis up close twice in 2015—in January, in the Philippines, and in September, in New York," she says. "I was in Lisbon to do the work entrusted to me as a volunteer, and giving my whole self to this work is my joy during this WYD, whether I see Pope Francis again up close or not."

Participating in various activities at WYD 2023 was one of the best moments for Carranza. "I will forever treasure these grace-filled moments in life," she says.

Being in WYD 2023 was such a "moving experience" for Carranza. She was impressed with the thousands of pilgrims—young and old—from different parts of the world.

During the WYD 2023, she was able to pray for her family and friends because she carried them in her heart. She was able to witness and encounter the whole world with her as the pilgrims welcomed Pope Francis and prayed with him.

WYD Lisbon 2023 had more than 25,000 volunteers. More than 15,000 were parish volunteers.

Carranza was one of the volunteers from the Philippines. There were some other volunteers from the Philippines as well.

"I was so grateful to the organizers and people in Portugal who cooperated with the pilgrims with love and care," says Carranza. - Santos Digal


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