Cameroon in “final phase” for 2023 World Youth Day Preparations: National Chaplain

Catholic youth in Cameroon during the 2022 National Youth Days in Ebolowa Diocese. Credit: Archdiocese of Yaounde

Cameroon is in the “final phase” of preparations for World Youth Day (WYD) 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal, scheduled to take place in August, the National Youth Chaplain of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (NECC) has said.

In a Friday, June 23 interview with ACI Africa, Fr. Clement Mevo said that the delegation from Cameroon that will participate in the August 1-6 event comprises 109 youth, 22 Catholic Priests, and a woman Religious.

“The WYD is practically in the final phase of its preparation here in Cameroon,” Fr. Mevo said.

He added, “At the level of the Episcopal Conference, our preparation started a long time ago with last year's celebration of the national youth days, which had the same theme as World Youth Day: Mary arose and went with haste (Lk 1:39).”

The member of the Clergy of Cameroon’s Yaounde Archdiocese said registration for the event started in February and was concluded in March this year.


“At this stage, we have 132 persons who are preparing to go to the WYD in Lisbon, Portugal. They were all recommended by their Bishops,” Fr. Mevo told ACI Africa during the June 23 interview, adding that Cameroon’s delegation also includes “a sizable margin of people over 30 years.”

According to the Vatican, Fr. Mevo continued, “Young people who are primarily concerned are those aged 18 to 30, but as this was a church event, we can't refuse to allow someone over 30 to take part if that person is recommended by their Bishops.”

“We have received invitations for these 132 participants from the organizing committee of the WYD in Lisbon, Portugal,” he said, adding that Portugal’s Archdiocese of Évora “has agreed to host us.”

“We are now at the embassy level to obtain visas,” Fr. Mevo shared, and expressed the hope “that this phase will be concluded quickly for our pilgrims.”

Majority of the Cameroonian youth in the WYD 2023 hail from the Archdiocese of Yaounde, followed by Douala Archdiocese, Bertoua Archdiocese, and then Ebolowa Diocese, he said.

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The National Catholic Youth Chaplain in Cameroon who has served in that capacity since 2018 said that part of the delegation is expected to participate in the Diocesan celebrations from July 24-30, a week before the WYD proper.

“The first group will leave on July 24 for the Diocesan celebrations, while the larger group, those who will be there just for the WYD, will leave on July 30,” Fr. Mevo said.

He said the Cameroonian delegation, which will be taking part in both the Diocesan and WYD around Pope Francis, will travel back to the Central African nation between August 7 and 8, depending on the availability of seats on the plane.” 

“We are going to have the pleasure of celebrating with other young people from all over the world around Pope Francis, and we hope that the Holy Father's messages will edify our young people and that they will be the relays of this message,” the National Youth Chaplain in Cameroon told ACI Africa during the June 23 interview. 

He added in reference to youth from Cameroon and the other delegates accompanying them to Lisbon, “We wish them all the best of luck and, above all, a successful WYD celebration.”


Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.