Artboard 1 apply Artboard 1 copy 2 Mount_Logo_Primary_RGB Mount_Logo_Primary_RGB give Artboard 1 copy 3 info link Mount_Logo_Primary_RGB Artboard 1 Artboard 2 Artboard 1 visit

Seminary Professor's Family Makes the Most of Their First World Youth Day

Francesca Pollio Fenton
Catholic News Agency

Love family at Sanctuary of Fatima

The Love family at the Sanctuary of Fatima in Portugal during World Youth Day 2023. Photo by Alexis Love.

The Catholic News Agency's Francesca Pollio Fenton shares a series of stories detailing a special pilgrimage of John and Alexis Love and their eight children as they attend their first World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal. Below are excerpts from the articles as well as links to the full stories. John is an associate professor of theology at Mount St. Mary's Seminary.

Off to WYD: Maryland family of 10 heads to Lisbon for special pilgrimage

A family of 10 is packing their bags and getting ready to embark on a journey they’re calling their “last hurrah as a family unit.”

John and Alexis Love are a Catholic couple from Maryland who, along with their eight children — Anthony, 18; Rosemary, 16; Thomas, 14; Cecilia, 13; Catherine, 10; Gloria, 9; Josie, 3; and Edmund, 1; as well as John’s mother, Sarah Kirk — will be attending World Youth Day (WYD) in Lisbon, Portugal, from Aug. 1–6.

As they were preparing for their trip, the Loves spoke with CNA about what they’re most looking forward to and their hopes for the experience.

The family will be overseas from July 29 to Aug. 11 visiting not only Portugal but also Spain. They will be stopping at several Catholic destinations such as Fátima, the grave of St. John of the Cross, and places associated with St. Teresa of Ávila.

John Love, a Catholic theology professor, said he’s most excited for his kids to see “the global Catholic Church community.”

“It’s not just us, it’s not just our friends, but this is a global endeavor and people are going to come from all over and all speak different languages, but have a common faith,” he said. READ ON

Maryland family of 10 is making the most of their first World Youth Day

After a long flight across the ocean, the Loves, a Catholic family of 10, arrived in Lisbon, Portugal, for World Youth Day (WYD) 2023 before festivities officially began earlier this week. 

Alexis and John Love, along with their eight children — Anthony, 18; Rosemary, 16; Thomas, 14; Cecilia, 13; Catherine, 10; Gloria, 9; Josie, 3; and Edmund, 1; as well as John’s mother, Sarah Kirk — arrived in Lisbon on July 29 as part of a 12-day trip to Portugal and Spain.

CNA first spoke to the Loves right before they were about to embark on this special journey. Then we caught up with the family days into their trip about their experience so far.

The family of 10 has been keeping themselves busy with visits to Fátima, Elevador Santa Justa (an iconic observation tower in Lisbon), St. Anthony’s birthplace and museum, and the Lisbon Cathedral. They found the world’s oldest bookstore, took a boat tour of the Tagus River, and, of course, have had their fair share of gelato.

The family has also participated in WYD events such as the welcome Mass, the vocational fair, the welcome ceremony for Pope Francis, and the entire family went to confession at Reconciliation Park.

Alexis called Fátima “peaceful, beautiful, and simple.”

“There’s a simplicity to both the place and the people of the story, the children,” she added. “They call them ‘the shepherds’ in Fátima. It is striking how Mary consistently chooses the simple, the little ones, to appear to.”

“The Portuguese people have been really kind, patient, helpful, and caring towards our kids — I mean shopkeepers, grocery store staff, pretty much everyone,” John said. “As a large family, we have felt like celebrities, with tons of people asking to take pictures with us. Everyone who has talked to us has said things like, ‘Love big families. Thank you for having a big family!’” READ ON

Francesca Pollio Fenton
Catholic News Agency