In the past it happened that some young people did not return to their homeland after the World Youth Day and this has generated greater bureaucratic controls. Fr. Chetan Machado, executive secretary of the Office for Youth of the Indian Bishops’ Conference, refers to the 900 registered Indians and says: “We hope that at least 80% will be able to participate in WYD.”
Mumbai () – There are 900 participants from India registered for World Youth Day (WYD). The event will be held in Lisbon, Portugal, from August 2-6 and Pope Francis will be present All participants must complete a registration form and receive a letter of recommendation from the bishop of their respective diocese -on letterhead, with signature and the corresponding official seal. Once these documents are obtained, you can apply for a visa to travel.
“To register and obtain the visa, there is a lot of documentation that is needed and this creates problems. We do not know if all those registered will have the visa in time to travel to Lisbon. But we hope that at least 80% of young Indians will be able to attend WYD”, explains Father Chetan Machado, executive secretary of the Youth Office of the Indian Bishops’ Conference. Bureaucratic delays arouse concern, as they endanger a training experience for hundreds of Indians The Indian authorities carefully control the documentation because in several past editions of WYD it happened that some young people decided not to return to their homeland.
Young people whose visa applications have been rejected are discouraged as flights to Europe are due to leave early next week. This trip was a source of great emotion for them “I have been waiting for this moment and now that it is almost there, I am looking forward to WYD in Lisbon, to meet Pope Francis and so many colleagues from all over the world”, says Abhishek Bhattacharjee, coordinator National Indian Catholic Youth. “It is a vital experience for all”, adds the Salesian brother Anil D’sa, “but for young Asians it is even more so, since at WYD they have the opportunity to meet millions of young people under the same umbrella, that of Holy Mother Church”.
The Portuguese authorities are trying to ease the document approval process, especially in Goa, where there is a Lusitanian consulate, while everyone else refers to the embassy in Delhi for visas.
“This is my second World Youth Day. I have seen young people truly committed to their communities. I can’t wait to have another experience with them,” says Fr. Chetan Machado.
Meanwhile, Msgr. Ignatius D’Souza, president of the Youth Commission of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI), recalls the theme of this year’s World Youth Day: “‘Mary arose and departed without delay'” is a passage taken from the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke. It is an invitation to young people to be active and throw themselves into the mission, to follow the example of Mary, who got up and left, and to be more active in her commitment to God and the Church. The Catholic community in India has a living faith, this vitality of Jesus must be brought to others, witnessed in service to the elderly, marginalized, vulnerable, people with special needs and also to our peers.