Group photo before departure from Tallinn’s Aiport 

By Devin Watkins

Jul 27 2023

A small cohort of young people from Estonia begin their pilgrimage toward World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal, entrusting their spiritual journey to God and the Estonian Servant of God Eduard Profittlich.

A small group of Estonian pilgrims departed on Monday for World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal, which kicks off on 1 August.

The group, which includes 15 young people and two priests, is probably the smallest from Europe to attend the event this year, according to Marge-Marie Paas, Communications Director for the Apostolic Administration of Estonia.

Despite their small numbers, the Estonian pilgrims are eager to bear witness to their faith and share their joy with others.

“Our world needs joy and peace,” said Ms Paas, in an interview with Vatican News. “And our 17-person group of young people would like to share this joy and peace with other pilgrims whom they will meet in Lisbon.”

Blessings of God

Estonia has around 6,000 practicing Catholics, but Ms Paas said that those who do practice their faith are deeply involved in the Church.

“Estonia is well known as not having many people who practice their faith,” she said, “but our youth would like to show that for those who do, their Catholic faith is important and it is deeply rooted in their hearts.”

As part of World Youth Day, the young Estonian pilgrims will participate in a variety of events during the week, including Masses, prayer services, and catechetical sessions.

According to one of their spiritual guides, Fr Tomasz Materna, parish priest of Sts Peter and Paul Cathedral in Tallinn, the highlight of their trip will likely be the closing WYD Mass with Pope Francis on 6 August.

Upon departure, Fr Materna expressed his trust that God will guide the Estonian pilgrims on their journey. He has faith that “God will bless our small Estonian group,” said Ms Paas.

Saintly protector

As part of their spiritual journey, the pilgrims carry with them a card with a prayer dedicated to Servant of God Eduard Profittlich. His canonization process is currently underway at the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints.

The German-born Jesuit served as the Apostolic Administrator of Estonia from 1931 until his deportation to Siberia and martyrdom in the Soviet prison in Kirov on 22 February 1942.

“They are praying to our Servant of God every day to have the courage to bear witness to the faith, to be joyful, happy and support each other throughout their journey,” said Ms Paas. – Vatican News