The Balhico family, from Alcabideche, shares a common desire to help and be able to collaborate in World Youth Day with the hundreds of families from Cascais who open the doors of their homes to welcome pilgrims during the event.
Ana Luísa, one of the four Balhico family members, representing her two children and her husband, explains that "being able to accommodate these young people once more outweighs the responsibility and organisation that hosting requires", and she highlights the "exchange of knowledge and experiences" as the most enriching factor for those who host and those who are hosted.
In this family of practising Catholics, part of the Parish of Alcabideche, the decision to provide a home and comforts was easy and immediate, as soon as they found out that Lisbon would be the stage for WYD: "It didn’t cross our minds not to get involved. It is a unique event, which may never be repeated in our country. We look forward to meeting them, to sharing our witness of life and spirituality."
The mother of this host family still doesn't know who will be there for the six nights of the WYD, except that there will be five young people - all of the same gender - from Spain and she is certain that "as we have the right conditions, we need to make our houses more available, free ourselves from material issues and host people."
In fact, opening the doors of their home to young people is nothing new for the Balhico family. Their experience of hosting during "Mission LX" in 2015 was so positive that they believe it will be equally "rewarding" at World Youth Day.