No less than Pope Francis is reportedly set to join World Youth Day 2023 in Portugal's capital city of Lisbon.
Based on a Catholic Courier report, organizers keep high hopes that the ailing pope will be at the global youth gathering in person despite his health problems.
High Hopes for Pope Francis' Appearance at WYD 2023
"One thing that all three popes of WYD have all been keen on is, whether or not he is there in person, the Holy Father's presence will be there, and we anticipate Pope Francis, God willing, be present," Catholic Courier quoted Paul Jarzembowski saying.
Jarzembowski serves in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as the Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth's associate director for the laity, the report said.
The high hopes for the pope's appearance at the upcoming World Youth Day come amid the pontiff's visible health problems.
Pope Francis has been seen in public in a wheelchair numerous times, with his mobility hindered.
Additionally, the pope's travels have been limited due to his current health condition.
Despite this, Jarzembowski and many others in the WYD 2023 organizing committee keep their hopes up for Francis' attendance in Lisbon next year.
Jarzembowski gave as an example St. John Paul II's participation in the 2002 Toronto WYDdespite his weakening physique at the time.
He explained that the late St. John Paul II's Toronto WYD participation seemed to have energized his spirits.
Jarzembowski is keen that the current pontiff would chase the same feeling that the worldwide gathering of youth brings to attendees.
WYD 2023 Preps, Excitement Building Up
This early, preparations and anticipation for the 2023 event are building up.
Organizers have started accepting registration for the gathering.
Those who wish to know more about the registration process for WYD 2023 may visit this link.
The organizers have also offered to assist interested attendees in their accommodation in Lisbon to help them save on costs.
Meanwhile, Jarzembowski said he has been getting enthusiastic responses from dioceses and bishops across the United States.
Jarzembowski, who disclosed that WYD 2023 would be his eighth World Youth Day experience, said that there is a possibility that attendance in Lisbon might be reduced due to COVID-19 considerations.
Nonetheless, he said it might be good since there would be plenty of room for "one-on-one accompaniment."
According to its website, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is 'an assembly of bishops' hierarchy jointly exercising pastorals on behalf of the United States' and U.S. Virgin Islands' Christian faithful.'
The USCCB formally existed on July 1, 2001, from the combined United States Catholic Conference (USCC) and National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB).
The conference maintains 17 committees with members from the USCCB roster.
The current USCCB leadership includes Most Rev. Jose Gomez as president and Most Rev. Allen Vigneron as vice president.
Most Rev. Timothy Broglio serves as USCCb secretary, while Most Rev. Gregory Parkes acts as treasurer.