January 2019: Pope goes to Panama to meet with youth from all over the world

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The year for 2019 began with a busy month. The new Vatican spokesman, Alessandro Gisotti, made his first appearance before the media. He was appointed after the resignation of Greg Burke and Paloma García Ovejero.

Provisional Vatican Spokesman

“Obviously you can understand that I am emotional. It's the first press conference I've moderated as interim director since I received the appointment on Dec. 31.”


“Thank you!”

The pope delivered his first speech during a traditional meeting with ambassadors accredited to the Vatican. He expressed his concern for the rise of nationalism and the migratory as well as refugee crises.

'Politics is required to be forward-looking and not to limit itself to looking for short-term solutions.”

January was also the month for baptisms in the Vatican. They were held in one of the most beautiful places possible, the Sistine Chapel. However, if there is one thing that made this month stand out, it was World Youth Day in Panama.

The pope met with hundreds of thousands of young people in this Central American country.

The pace was intense and he acknowledged the trip was exhausting, but worth it. Whilst there, Pope Francis left strong images like these, where he heard the confessions of prisoners and visited a center for people with HIV. He persistently encouraged young people to take life seriously. 

“Commitment makes us grow. This is what makes us big. FLASH The scale of whether a trip meets expectations is the level of exhaustion. I'm depleted.”

The first month of the year ended with great news, the release of Asia Bibi. She is a humble Christian woman accused of blasphemy in Pakistan. The Supreme Court in her country rejected the appeal against her acquittal. As a consequence, this ended the calvary that kept her on death row for more than eight years.

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