Get set! Catholic Diocese of Macau to select 50 youngsters for World Youth Day in Portugal

Marco Carvalho

Government officials have announced the end of the mandatory COVID-19 quarantine requirement for travellers entering Macau and the decision opens the door to the participation of a significant delegation of local youngsters in the 37th edition of the World Youth Day, the worldwide youth pilgrimage that will be held in Lisbon in August.

The resolution to join young people from around the globe in the Portuguese capital for the largest Catholic gathering in the world was dependent on several factors, but the decision to relax and remove the remaining COVID-19 related restrictions, eliminated one of the most worrisome elements – the need to undergo mandatory quarantine in a designated hotel.

Macau changed its epidemic prevention policy from “zero-COVID” to “coexisting with the virus” and is quickly opening up to the rest of the world. There is now no need to quarantine upon entry to Macau from anywhere in the world. The easing of the pandemic restrictions should allow the Catholic Diocese of Macau to be represented by a larger number of youngsters in the 2023 edition of the World Youth Day, says Tammy Chio Chu Cheng, deputy director of the Diocesan Youth Commission.

“I recently had the opportunity to discuss with Bishop Stephen Lee the number of participants that Macau will send to the World Youth Day and what was stipulated was that, if the mandatory quarantine was cancelled, the group going to Lisbon would be large. It would amount to around 50 people,” she added.

“If the scenario remained unchanged, the group wouldn’t be as big. It would most likely comprise 20 to 30 participants. These numbers only include Chinese-speaking Catholics. I still have to discuss with Father Daniel [Ribeiro] what are the plans of the Portuguese-speaking community regarding its participation in the World Youth Day,” Tammy Chio further explains.

The Diocesan Youth Commission should start recruiting potential participants starting from the end of next month. The selection of those that will represent Macau in Lisbon will allow the preparation process to enter a new phase, she adds.

“At the meeting I had with Bishop Stephen Lee, a few details were discussed. We are planning, starting from January 23, to start recruiting local young people who are willing to go to Lisbon and that want to be part of the World Youth Day,” the deputy director of the Youth Commission says.

“Our biggest concern is how we can prepare our group, how we can prepare these youngsters, before we take part in the World Youth Day. It is my biggest concern. This is an opportunity for young people to come together and learn that we belong, not only to the Church of Macau, but also to the Universal Church and that we respond to a single God,” Tammy Chio told O Clarim.

Tammy Chio traveled to Portugal in November to take part in one of the preparatory meetings for the 37th edition of World Youth Day. The encounter, held in Fátima, helped to quell the remaining doubts and fears that the deputy director of the Diocesan Youth Commission still held. She returned home with a more positive perspective of Macau’s involvement in what will be the biggest event ever organized in Portugal.

“Before I went there, I wasn’t quite sure whether or not we would be able to take part in World Youth Day. I had many doubts before going to Portugal, but after I joined that meeting, I realized that I was wrong. The world returned to normal and everything is progressing as it should. I was at the venue where the closing Mass will take place and the construction work is in progress,” she added.