Some of our young Vincentians were fortunate enough to attend World Youth Day, which ran from 22-27 January in Panama. South African national youth coordinator Boipelo Mathondlada, pictured above, was among the pilgrims.
Welcoming pilgrims on the first day, Archbishop Mendieta of Panama, said: “Our joy is immense in the presence of all of you. Today we welcome you with open hearts and arms. Thank you for accepting the call to meet us in this small country where faith came hand in hand with the Virgin Mary under the title of Santa Maria La Antigua. A country that made every effort to have each of you have a meeting with Jesus Christ.”
The archbishop recalled that Panama is the first diocese on the mainland of the Americas, where the Gospel was spread to the rest of the American continent, and spoke of gratitude to God for hosting this WYD.
During the event, young people from all over the globe were encouraged to connect through various expressions of art and culture. The afternoon periods, especially, were marked by concerts and presentations by various Catholic bands, as well as dance and theatre presentations, plastic arts exhibitions, paintings, photography, and a gastronomic space.
At the end of the closing Mass, the Pope prayed to Our Lady, delivering the young people of the whole world, and said goodbye to the pilgrims.
“To you, dear young people, a big thank you! Your faith and joy made Panama, America, and the whole world vibrate. We are on the way: continue to walk, continue to live the faith and share it. Do not forget that you are not tomorrow, you are not the ‘however’, but the now of God. I ask you not to let it cool what you have lived in these days. Return to your parishes and communities, to your families and to your friends, and pass on this experience, so that others may vibrate with the strength and the dream that you have in you. With Mary, continue to say ‘yes’ to the dream that God sowed in you.”
The next WYD will take place in Lisbon, Portugal in 2022.