World Youth Day – Panama 2019 

Behold the Handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your Word: I am your servant, I am your daughter or son.  

 To be like Mary, available to go out, Pilgrim Church with love, witness youth and disciples with joy, faith and vocation!

These are some words of the hymn of the WYD: my whole experience is summarized in them both as accompanier and above all, that of all those young people, meeting in Panama.

During my stay, I could live what is known as “Days in the diocese” that is to say, to be received by Parish communities to live closer in fraternity.  I only have two words: limitless generosity and gratitude for all.  These were very rich days, among the pilgrims and the community of Saint Maria de Belen in the diocese of Colon.

Then we went to the capital of Panama.  It is true that we walked a lot every day to arrive to our catechesis, to go to the Cinta Costera and Saint John Paul II. Moreover, it was hot… yes, certainly yes.  Again, we met with brothers and sisters who opened their hearts and houses. The kindness of the Panamanian people cannot be described.  Different people regardless of  origin and economic class, all became brothers, sisters and friends.  I am a  witness of several families who already had received two or three pilgrims and they did not doubt or hesitate in accepting two or three more.  What generosity!  And that with great joy!

All united said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord, I am your daughter, I am your son… we are witnesses and disciples with joy, faith and vocation!

Of course, we saw the Pope but he also saw a youth, community alive, joyful and sister.

In the midst of these days, of the WYD I had the opportunity, as I have done in the previous WYD, of coordinating the event MEJ in the framework of the Festival of the young.   On this occasion coordinating the young from Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala.  These young people were very generous with their time and availability, since we had been working for several months by Skype to be able to offer a Eucharistic moment to those who were present in our space MEJ.  There we met other young members from MEJ from other countries, so close to us as Bolivia and so far away as Lebanon.  In one of the photos, we can see the national coordinators of those three countries, with Frederic SJ, the World Director and myself.

How small is the world! In the midst of so many joyful and friendly people, I found other persons from JM: Sister Mariana Arteaga from Mexico, Mrs. Lidie of the AFJM from Haiti, and young Ronald Viñas from Cuba.  I know that Sister Emilia Escobar from Colombia was also there, but we did not meet, maybe next time.

Therefore, I end saying like Claudine “How good God is!“ who allows us to live these experiences to grow in faith, in our belonging to the Universal Church being witnesses of God in the midst of our people and our youth.