Electrifying, energizing and empowering celebrations
of the Vigil and Final Mass
Panama City, Panama, 27th January 2019 -- Pope Francis arrived in his Pope mobile to an electrifying atmosphere at the Saint John Paul II, Metro Park, during World Youth Day final celebrations on the outskirts of Panama City. An estimated number of 700,000 people joined in the final Eucharistic celebration on the 27th January, 2019. Despite the blazing sun, pilgrims arrived all day and filled up the entire field.
The Holy Father highlighted the role of Mary and her ‘yes” to the dream of God. Taking the cue from the Gospel of Luke, the Pope reminded the congregation gathered that ‘today’ is ‘now’. Referring to the Synod of Youth and the need to listen to each other. The Holy Father said that we need to dream of working for tomorrow, but start today. “Not tomorrow, but now”, said the Holy Father.
At the conclusion of Mass, the Holy Father thanked all who made the celebrations of world youth day an enriching and empowering experience. His last words for the young people were: “We are on a journey. Keep walking, keep living the faith and sharing it”. And do not forget, said Pope Francis, that “you are not the tomorrow, you are not the ‘meantime’, you are the Now of God”.
Earlier on the 26th January, at a prayerful vigil that at which 600,000 pilgrims were present, the pope called on young people to reject the temptation to live their lives online and urged them to get involved in their communities.
Life was not "in the cloud, waiting to be downloaded, a new app to be discovered, or a technique of mental self-improvement," the pontiff said during his grandfatherly discourse.
As he spoke to the young people he mentioned the saints of the young. Referring to Don Bosco he spoke of his love for the young and caring for those who are marginalized. He spoke of Archbishop Romero and his stand for justice. The Holy Father used his encounter with young people in Central America to speak out repeatedly in defense of migrants, and address other problems affecting the region such as poverty, drug trafficking, violence and the domination of women. Earlier, he also touched on the sex abuse scandals that have plagued the church.
At the close of the of the final Eucharistic celebration Lisbon, Portugal, will hold the next World Youth Day, in 2022.
World Youth Day has been for me a powerful experience of sharing faith, of tears with people as they shared their life, problems and suffering, of prayerful reflection. What has struck me most was that we need to be out with the young especially those who are vulnerable. It has been a joyful celebration amidst the struggles that are all part of the journey of life.” – Fr Ambrose Pereira sdb
“It was very nice meeting people from different countries and learning from them about their struggles of faith and life. It has been an uplifting experience for my faith and I look forward to joining the young people in Portugal in 2022” - Allison Janet Lopez, Panama City
“The world youth day has been an occasion for me to volunteer my time at the celebrations. I spent long hours at the Omar Park directing the pilgrims for confession. It has given me a lot of joy, as I continue to live and practice my Catholic faith, despite the many struggles in life” – Juana Parris, Panama City