Pedro Ferreira (pictured above right, with Fr. João Paulo Vaz) explained that the melody came before the lyrics. He recalled composing the music in a "small room, alone, by the piano," searching for a tune that helped "to congregate, to gather a community."
The 41-year-old and other members of his music group, known as the "Parish Band," approached Fr. João Paulo Vaz to write the lyrics.
"Not changing the melody, and with the guitar in my hands, I started writing, just like I usually do," the 51-year-old priest said.
"The theme of the Portuguese edition [of World Youth Day] made me revise my relationship with the Mother and, then, the lyrics creative process became, for me, a very deep time of praying," he explained.
World Youth Day, which is typically held on a different continent every three years, was established by Pope John Paul II in 1985. The week-long gathering usually attracts hundreds of thousands of young people.
The coronavirus crisis has thrown up obstacles for the organizers of the next event in Lisbon. The meeting was initially scheduled for August 2022, but the Vatican said in April 2020 that it would be postponed to August 2023.
Organizers invited young Portuguese Catholics last November to prepare for World Youth Day by taking part in a two-day mission.
They invited young people across the country to dedicate Nov. 28-29, the weekend marking the start of Advent, to the countrywide mission.
"We challenge each young person to do a mission wherever they are, thus giving expression to the theme proposed by Pope Francis for WYD Lisbon 2023," they said.
In light of the pandemic, organizers suggested that youngsters could take part in the mission by calling someone who lives alone, speaking to distant family members via the internet, volunteering with local charities, or undertaking acts of service in their parishes.
They encouraged youngsters to wear WYD Lisbon 2023 T-shirts while taking part, to "give visibility to this great movement of hope."
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Organizers launched the WYD Lisbon 2023 website and official logo in October.
The logo, featuring the Blessed Virgin Mary in front of a cross, in the colors of Portugal's flag, was selected in an international contest with hundreds of participants from 30 countries by the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life.
It was designed by Beatriz Roque Antunes, a 24-year-old who works at a communication agency in Lisbon.
The pope announced that the Portuguese capital would host the global Catholic gathering of young people at the closing Mass of the last international World Youth Day in Panama City in January 2019.
Lisbon, a city of 505,000 people, is around 75 miles from Fatima, one of the most popular Marian pilgrimage sites in the world.