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Panama youth receive WYD Cross: “We never thought we would host WYD”


This is the youth of Poland giving the World Youth Day Cross to young people from Panama during the Mass on Palm Sunday.

Those on the receiving end speak of this moment that made them jump for joy.

"The truth is that to be so close to the pope, to the Basilica of St. Peter's. Being able to represent the parish, as a young man, and as a catechist has been an unforgettable experience."

"It is an honor to know that my country, which is a small part of Latin America... We never thought we would host WYD. The feeling is very great."

After the pope gave them the cross, they showed their happiness. Two hundred young people from Panama and the bishops of their diocese traveled to Rome for this unforgettable day.

Bishop of David, Panama
"I have not digested it yet. I still have all my excitement here. It has been a beautiful week and this has already been the icing on the cake."

The party had begun on Saturday with the vigil for young people in the Basilica of St. Mary Major. There the pope warmly greeted the ambassador of Panama, Miroslava Rosas.

Ambassador of Panama to the Holy See
"The Virgin Mary definitely does all these things. The Holy Father arrived, greeted the bishops and the cardinals who were there, and when he was going to go up to the Virgin to bring her a bouquet of flowers that had been given to him by a parishioner, he turned around and said, 'I have to go and say hello to the Ambassador.' Then he came back, and the video captures it, and it really is out of love. I see this gesture as a sign of the affection that he feels toward Panama."

The pope has asked Panamanian youth and bishops to prepare by doing something very concrete.

Bishop of David, Panama
"He told me: 'Courage, shake things up!' Thus, literally: 'Shake things up!'" 

Archbishop of Panama City
"He has told us: 'Courage, strength, go forward.' It's worth all the effort you'll make."

The Central American country will host the WYD in 2019. Panama is small, but it is well prepared for such a mission.

WYD Coordinator
"We are really willing to receive the youth and help them feel welcome in our country; our country with just as warm a climate as we are warm.”

They brought a little of that warmth to St. Peter's Square in the form of this overflowing joy. Now, the countdown begins for WYD in Panama 2019.

- S
Up: JC