13 February 2023, The Tablet

World Youth Day reduces costs after outcry

There were objections when the stage for the final Mass was initially costed at €4.2 million.

World Youth Day reduces costs after outcry

The site for World Youth Day under construction in Lisbon.
Sipa US/Alamy

The organisers of World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon announced on Friday that they had managed to lower the cost of the main stage which will be used as an altar for the final Mass, following an outcry over the price of the construction.

Concerns and objections were raised in late January when it was announced that the infrastructure for the stage would cost over €4.2 million.

The bill will be footed by the Lisbon city authorities, and the stage and covering will be kept on, to be used by the city for future events.

After news of the projected cost broke, the WYD Foundation, which was set up by the Patriarchate of Lisbon to oversee the organisation of the event, said it had been surprised by the figure and that it would do whatever possible to revise its specifications and bring the cost down.

The new value of €2.9 million was announced in a joint press conference by Bishop Américo Aguiar and the mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Moedas.

The restructured altar will be four meters high and is set to hold 1,240 people.

The initial project was for a nine meter high structure that could support up to 2,000 people, half of whom were expected to be bishops.

The bishop also announced alternative funding for the second large stage in central Lisbon, which will be the altar for the opening Mass, presided over by the patriarch, and the Way of the Cross for the event.

Their combined cost of €450,000 will be fully paid by the WYD Foundation. Organisers never confirmed the initial projected cost, but it was rumoured to be up to €2 million to be paid by the city authorities.

WYD Lisbon 2023 will take place between 1 and 6 August and is expected to attract up to 1.5 million pilgrims.

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