Pope Francis invited young people from Portugal to join him in the window of the Apostolic Palace for the World Youth Day announcement. / Vatican Media

Vatican City, Oct 23, 2022 / 07:05 am (CNA).

With a click on a tablet in front of the crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis became the first person to register for the next World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal.

The pope announced that registration is now open for World Youth Day 2023, the largest international Catholic youth gathering scheduled to take place Aug. 1–6.

“Dear young people, I invite you to register for this meeting in which, after a long period of staying at a distance, we will rediscover the joy of the fraternal embrace between peoples and between generations, which we need so much,” Pope Francis said on Oct. 23.

Pope Francis asked young people from Portugal to join him in the window of the Apostolic Palace for the announcement at the end of his Angelus address.

World Youth Day is targeted at people between the ages of 16 to 35, according to its organizers. The international event is typically held on a different continent every three years but was postponed to 2023 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

St. John Paul II established the week-long youth gathering in 1985. At some past World Youth Days, attendance has reached into the millions.

Lisbon, the Portuguese capital set to host World Youth Day 2023, is just 75 miles from Fatima, one of the most visited Marian pilgrimage sites in the world. In Fatima, the Virgin Mary appeared to three shepherd children in 1917 with a message of peace and a request for prayer.

The theme of Lisbon’s World Youth Day is “Mary arose and went with haste.” In his message for the event, Pope Francis urged young people not to “not postpone all the good that the Holy Spirit can accomplish in you.”

“Now is the time to arise! Like Mary, let us ‘arise and go in haste.’ Let us carry Jesus within our hearts and bring him to all those whom we meet,” the pope said.