Lisbon calling: Catholic Diocese of Macau prepares to engage in World Youth Day 2023

Marco Carvalho

The Catholic Diocese of Macau will be represented by the deputy director of the Diocesan Youth Commission at the preparatory meeting of the 2023 World Youth Day that started this Monday in Fátima. Tammy Chio Chu Cheng departed Macau last Saturday, and the trip to Portugal seems to indicate that East Asia’s oldest diocese wants to take part in modern Catholicism’s largest celebration of faith and fellowship.

The participation in the event, which will take place in Lisbon from 1st to 6th August 2023, is, however, dependent on the evolution of the pandemic scenario and the anti-Covid-19 restrictions that may eventually be in force in Macau next summer. “In the past, I took part in World Youth Days on five different occasions, and I know how important the event is. This event is a good opportunity for the youth in our diocese to strengthen the connection with young Catholics from all over the world. But if our youngsters want to be there, they have to prepare themselves. (….) They have to study, they need to possess something to share with the youth from all over the world that they will come across in Lisbon during the World Youth Day,” Tammy Chio told O Clarim.

Despite reiterating that Macau’s presence at next summer’s World Youth Day is not yet fully guaranteed, the deputy director of the Diocesan Youth Commission believes that local Catholics will be present at the event. The only issue, Chio Chu Cheng admits, might be the size of the youth group that will represent the Catholic Diocese of Macau in Lisbon.

“As I see it, we cannot simply cancel our participation, even if the local authorities decide to keep in place Covid-19 related restrictions. As you know, anyone who returns to Macau still needs to quarantine in a hotel. Nevertheless, in the summer, when the government announced that the quarantine period would be reduced from 14 to seven days, people began to believe that prospects would improve. I hope that next summer it will no longer be necessary to quarantine,” Tammy Chio confesses.

“If there is no improvement and health policies remain as they are, it is likely that the group that will travel to Lisbon will be smaller. If quarantine is not needed anymore, we intend to take a larger group to the World Youth Day. I believe this is a good opportunity for young people and our local church to continue to study and learn more about our faith,” the deputy director of the Diocesan Youth Commission emphasizes.

Tammy Chio will return to Macau in mid-November, and depending on the directives she will bring from Portugal, the Diocesan Youth Commission will convene a series of preparatory meetings with the aim of recruiting youngsters that are willing to take part in the largest gathering of contemporary Catholicism. The deputy director of the Youth Commission wants the Portuguese-speaking community that also lives in Macau to be part of the process. “After my return to Macau, I will begin discussing our participation in greater detail with Bishop Stephen Lee, and also contact the Portuguese-speaking Catholic community that is part of the local church. I believe that they might be willing to take part in this great event. The World Youth Day takes place in Portugal, and they know how to speak the language. It seems to me that they might be interested in being part of this process,” Tammy Chio concludes.