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Theme song for WYD 2023 in Lisbon: “There’s Haste in the Air”

Official Theme Song | WYD Lisbon 2023

Lisboa 2023 | YouTube | Fair Use

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 01/29/21

The hymn speaks of Mary's “yes” and of her great desire to go and visit her cousin Elizabeth.

The official theme song for World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon was released this week. It’s called “Há Pressa no Ar” — which could literally translate to “There Is Haste in the Air” a reference to the theme of the WYD, which refers to Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth: “Mary arose and went with haste … ” (Lk 1:39).

The first verse is in English:

From far and wide to gather in this place
We spread our wings and here we are,
And with Mary proclaiming our Yes
We seek to serve and follow the will
Of the Lord, our Father

The music video offers images of Lisbon, the beautiful capital of Portugal, and particularly its striking Gothic cathedral and traditional trolley cars.

The hymn speaks of Mary’s “yes” and of her great desire to go and visit her cousin Elizabeth. “There Is Haste in the Air” invites young people to identify with Our Lady and to make themselves available to serve in Christ’s mission and the transformation of the world.

The lyrics also evoke the joy of WYD, a joy that comes from Jesus, details the press release from the organizers.

From prayer to song

The song was written by Father João Paulo Vaz and set to music by Pedro Ferreira, both from the Diocese of Coimbra, in central Portugal. It was chosen following a national competition in which more than 100 songs were judged by a jury.

The theme song was recorded in two versions: one in Portuguese and the other in an international version that includes Portuguese, English, Spanish, French and Italian.

The “melody was born before the lyrics,” according to Ferreira, 41. Ferreira then asked Fr. Vaz to write the lyrics.

With “a guitar in my hands, I started writing, just like I usually do,” said the 51-year-old priest. He explains that he started from the theme of the WYD in Panama [“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord”], to create a link with the Portuguese event.

The song style is “a popular song, cheerful, young, easy to learn and easy to translate and to adapt,” they say.

Fr. Vaz added that the creative process of writing the lyrics became “a very deep time of praying.”

Here is an English translation of all the lyrics, with bold indicating the portion that is in English in the international version:

From far and wide to gather in this place
We spread our wings and here we are,
And with Mary proclaiming our Yes
we seek to serve and follow the will
Of the Lord, our Father
Called to be like Jesus Christ,
We want to give, to become
Docile to (say) “yes,” to be like Mary.

All are going to hear our voice,
Let us raise our arms, there’s haste in the air.
Jesus is alive and doesn’t leave us on our own:
We will never cease to love again.
2. You who seek to know who you are
Head out to discover, come see what I saw.
Come with us to look beyond
What you do and whatever doesn’t allow you
To laugh and love.
Forget the past, don’t say no.
Listen in your heart,
And set out fearlessly on this mission.
3. It was Mary who first welcomed
The great surprise of everlasting life.
Trusting and simple, she wanted to receive
The great mystery of a God who is
For you and for me.
I can’t stay silent, I can’t stop
Singing: “My Lord,
count on my, I won’t be silent anymore!”
4. Without any doubt about her mission,
Although she was young, Mary promptly
Left her home and headed to the mountains
To see Elizabeth and she immediately found
Greeting, communion.
Blessed is the fruit, it is my Lord!
And I want to hear: You trusted in my word
And happiness is yours!
World Youth Day
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