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Rome Reports

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Young people from Panama visit Pope Francis while they prepare for World Youth Day

These teenage girls are from a school in Panama that has safeguarded a gift from Pope Francis for the young people in the country.

This gift is the “Pilgrim Cross,” which travels around the world to churches and institutions to prepare for the next World Youth Day. Now, it is in Panama.

They are especially happy because they were able to meet the pope, but regret they weren’t able to give him their personal gift.

“We wanted to go to the papal audience to receive a blessing and we also had a gift for Pope Francis. However, for one reason or another, weren't able to give it to him. Even still, we are very happy to have been in the audience.”

After the “Pilgrim Cross” came to their school, they prepared this book for the pope with their impressions and dreams in anticipation for World Youth Day. 

“It’s basically a letter where we express our feelings, telling him everything that we feel.”

“We also made a book because the ‘Pilgrim Cross’ arrived in Panama for World Youth Day and came to our school. It was that much more special because this year marks the 70th anniversary of our school’s establishment.”

After hearing the pope's catechesis, they felt that Pope Francis was speaking directly to them. Now, they are returning to Panama with their minds set on never giving up, no matter what problem they may face.

“The pope said a lot, like we must follow our dreams. I think that’s one of the main messages he wanted to send to us today; always continue moving forward and never give up under any circumstance.”

“Mainly, also, because we are young. We must face our future with dreams and never stop overcoming whatever obstacles we face in life. Always be faithful to God, and faithful to the end, just like our school’s slogan says.”

With the memories of their encounter with Pope Francis engrained in their mind, they say goodbye to Rome. However, they hold their excitment of once again seeing the pope in their country at the next World Youth Day in January 2019. It is a date none of them want to miss.