In Panama, young pilgrims show a Church alive
From Jan. 22-27, hundreds of thousands of young people from around the world attended talks, prayed, received the sacraments and participated in an overall encounter with one another in a sweltering Panama City. Pope Francis, too, kept a busy schedule during his three-day visit to Panama, even hearing confessions at a juvenile detention center in nearby Pacora. During World Youth Day’s main events, the Holy Father led pilgrims in the solemn Way of the Cross on Jan. 25, a prayer vigil on Jan. 26 and a closing Mass on Jan. 27. The theme of this year’s World Youth Day was, “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).
In his homily at the closing Mass for World Youth Day, Pope Francis told the estimated crowd of more than a half-million that young people are “not the future but the now of God.”
“He invites you and calls you in your communities and cities to go out and find your grandparents, your elders; to stand up and with them to speak out and realize the dream that the Lord has dreamed for you,” the pope continued. “Not tomorrow but now, for wherever your treasure is, there will your heart also be (see Mt 6:21). Whatever you fall in love with, it will win over not only your imagination, it will affect everything. It will be what makes you get up in the morning, what keeps you going at times of fatigue, what will break open your hearts and fill you with wonder, joy and gratitude.”
The next World Youth Day is scheduled for Lisbon, Portugal, in July 2022.