PANAMA CITY—On Monday morning, 20 pilgrims arrived in Panama City with Bishop Frank J. Caggiano for World Youth Day. After taking a tour of the Panama Canal and the old city, pilgrims settled into their accommodations and prepared for the week.
Since their arrival, each morning has begun with morning prayer and a brief meeting. On Tuesday, pilgrims explored the city and then gathered with thousands of pilgrims from around the world for the opening ceremonies and Mass with the Archbishop of Panama at Cinto Costera.
On Wednesday, pilgrims attended one of the English catechesis sessions with Bishop Caggiano, who spoke about the first part of the world youth day theme “Here I am Lord.” He said that Jesus didn’t call the apostles friends until the Last Supper and we are now called His friends too, so we must also respond to His call to do His Will.
On Wednesday afternoon and evening, pilgrims attended the Fiat Festival at the Figali Convention Center. It was sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, FOCUS and the USCCB. Bishop Caggiano, Bishop Burns of Dallas, Bishop Barron of LA and Sister Bethany Madonna, SV spoke. 10,000 English speaking pilgrims were gathered for praise, worship and adoration.
On Thursday, Bishop Caggiano celebrated Mass for the contingent from the Diocese of Bridgeport and led them in reflection and discussion before going to Cinto Costera for the Popes welcoming address.
The Pope encouraged all the young people gathered that the Church is walking with them.
“We come from different cultures and peoples, we speak different languages and we wear different clothes. Each of our peoples has had a different history and lived through different situations. We are different in so many ways! But none of it has stopped us from meeting one another and rejoicing to be together. The reason for this, we know, is that something unites us,” the Pope said.
He continued, “We can ask: What keeps us united? Why are we united? What prompts us to encounter each other? The certainty of knowing that we have been loved with a profound love that we neither can nor want to keep quiet about a love that challenges us to respond in the same way: with love. It is the love of Christ that urges us on (cf. 2 Cor 5:14).”
During the rest of their time in Panama, pilgrims will attend stations of the cross and an evening vigil with the Pope while enjoying all the beauty Panama has to offer!