By Charles Igwe
Amid his visit to Portugal, Pope Francis bestowed three meaningful gifts as tokens of his appreciation. The first, a golden rosary, was offered to the Virgin Mary during his pilgrimage to Fatima on August 5th. Placed at the statue within the Chapel of Apparitions, it symbolized his devotion.
For the Archdiocese of Lisbon, Pope Francis gifted a splendid golden chalice. This cherished item was personally presented to Cardinal Manuel Clemente, the esteemed Archbishop of the Portuguese capital.
As a tribute to the place that hosted him, Pope Francis honored the Apostolic Nunciature (the Vatican’s embassy in Portugal) with a remarkable work of art crafted by the artist Amalia Mistichelli. This painting showcased the Patriarchal Cathedral of Saint Mary Major, the revered center of Catholic worship in Lisbon.
Embedded within an armillary sphere at the heart of the painting was the inscription “DIES MVNDIALIS IVVENTVTIS LISBONAE MMXXIII” (World Youth Day Lisbon 2023) encircled by the logo of the WYD, positioned between the cathedral’s towers.
Radiating outward in a circular arrangement, the portraits of the 13 Patrons of the World Youth Day were depicted. These revered figures, saints, and blessed individuals, had dedicated their lives to serving the youth. They encompassed luminaries like St. John Paul II, St. John Bosco, St. Vincent, St. Anthony, St. Bartholomew of the Martyrs, St. John de Brito, Blessed Joan of Portugal, Blessed John Fernandes, Blessed Mary Clara of the Child Jesus, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, Blessed Marcel Callo, Blessed Clara Badano, and Blessed Carlos Acutis.
Pope Francis’ gestures left a lasting legacy, symbolizing his connection to Portugal and his commitment to the principles and values upheld by these gifts.