FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT WORLD YOUTH DAY IN PANAMA

Here’s a bit of background for the 2019 WYD in Panama – the five things you will want to know about this celebration as Pope Francis today wings his way west to a new adventure. However I’d add a sixth thing: When pronouncing the name of the country, the accent is placed on the final syllable, not the first, thus Panamà!

I’ll have to remember that when I next speak on radio!

Speaking of which: Here is a link to last weekend’s edition of Vatican Insider: https://soundcloud.com/ewtn-radio/vatican-insider-011919-alveda-king

And this weekend will be very special as well when my guest Alessandro Biciocchi and I speak of an opera written by a cardinal.

Speaking of Papal trips – just in: Responding to the questions of several journalists, the director “ad interim” of the Holy See Press Office Alessandro Gisotti affirmed:
“The Apostolic Journey to Japan is in the phase of being studied. As the Holy Father already said on other occasions, he has a great desire to go to this country. Regarding a possible visit to Iraq, as was already also affirmed by Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, on his return from visiting that country last December, the conditions do not exist at present for a visit by the Holy Father.”

Two days ago the Vatican published information for the journalists who will cover the Pope’s February 3-5 trip to the UAE (United Arab Emirates), including a link they must use to request local accreditation. In addition, local authorities notify the media that those who want to bring photographic/video equipment into the UAE, must register that equipment via a separate link. Using that same link, media may request authorization for photos / videos not connected to the travel events.

I have only covered a few papal trips (never on a papal plane but that is at the top of my bucket list!) but do not recall such explicit requests for permission to use photo/video equipment or the necessity to register each piece of equipment with local authorities or to register to take photos of non-papal visit places and events. Colleagues may correct me on this. I do know there are military areas in countries that are off-base to the media.

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT WORLD YOUTH DAY IN PANAMA

Panama City, Panama, Jan 21, 2019 / 04:31 pm (CNA).- The 15th international World Youth Day is set to begin Tuesday, Jan. 22 in Panama City, Panama.


The massive gathering of Catholic youth, which takes place every two or three years, this year will be held for the first time in Central America.

Pope St. John Paul II established World Youth Day in 1985. The first international gathering was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1987.

The purpose of World Youth Day is threefold: a celebration of and putting trust in the young; giving young people a chance to make pilgrimage; and to give young people a chance to encounter the worldwide Catholic community.

The theme for this year’s gathering is taken from Mary’s affirmation of God’s will in Luke 1:38: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

The festivities in Panama end Jan. 27. Here are 5 things you need to know about this year’s World Youth Day (in Spanish, Jornada Mundial de la Juventud or JMJ).

1. How many pilgrims?
Past World Youth Days have typically been held during the northern hemisphere’s summer— August, July, etc. This year the event takes place during the southern hemisphere’s summer, and though Panama lies entirely in the northern hemisphere, it is going to be hot! The forecast for the week shows highs above 90 degrees Fahrenheit for most days.

The timing this year also means WYD is taking place during the school year for young people from the Northern Hemisphere, so it remains to be seen how many young people from the United States will be able to make it. At last count, 11,000 young people from the U.S. are registered. Around 36,000 US youths attended the last WYD in Poland, according to the U.S. bishops’ conference.

In addition to pilgrims, the United States is sending more than 30 bishops, including Cardinals Sean O’Malley of Boston, Blase Cupich of Chicago, and Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston.

Alessandro Gisotti, interim Director of Vatican press office, said as of Jan. 18 that 150,000 young people from 155 countries had signed up as pilgrims, which would make for a smaller group than had attended in previous years— around 2 million pilgrims attended the last World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, and in 1995 an estimated 5 million attended in Manila, Philippines.

However, the international media coordinator for the Archdiocese of Panama has said more recently that at least 408,000 pilgrims have signed up, and the number is expected to grow. Organizers say they expect a crowd of at least 500,000 people for the final mass on Sunday, Jan. 27.

Paul Jarzembowski, World Youth Day national coordinator for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has said they have seen more young people in their 20s participating in this WYD, whereas in years past more of the pilgrims have been teenagers.

2. A man, a plan, a canal…Panama!
Panama is a small Central American nation of about 4 million people. Overall, the country is about 85% Catholic.

Most of the events will be held on Cinta Costera, a 64-acre peninsula jutting into the Panama Bay, which has been renamed Campo Santa Maria la Antigua for WYD.
Pilgrims are also encouraged to check out the historic district of Panama City, Casco Viejo, and to visit the seven historic churches located in the district: La Catedral Metropolitana, La Merced, San Francisco de Asís, San José, San Felipe de Neri, Santo Domingo, and Santa Ana.

Panama City, the capital of the county and home to about 1.5 million people in the metro area, is home to the world-famous Panama Canal, the waterway that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Construction on the canal was completed in 1914 by the US Army Corp of Engineers, at a cost of the lives of nearly 28,000 workers who undertook the project. Today, nearly 14,000 ships cross through the canal each year, the majority bound for the United States.

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez has been a strong supporter of the WYD effort ever since it was announced in 2016 that the next event would be held in his country.

“As a Panamanian,” he told Vatican News, “I feel honored that our country will be at the heart of the world for a few days, pumping the Pope’s message of hope, unity, solidarity and concern for those in need.”

3. Follow the action
For English-speaking pilgrims attending WYD, there are several special events that will be conducted in English while you’re down there.

For example, the USCCB along with the Knights of Columbus and the Fellowship of Catholic University Students are co-sponsoring an event called “Fiat” in Panama City on Jan. 23 at 7pm EST. The event will feature renowned Catholic speakers and musicians. The English and Spanish-speaking event will be livestreamed on FOCUS’ YouTube channel.

If you can’t make it to this year’s World Youth Day, there are several ways to follow along at home. The official hashtags for WYD this year, which you can follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, are #Panama2019, #FranciscoEnPanama, and #JMJestáAqui / #WYDisHere. You can also follow @cnalive on Twitter and @catholicnewsagency on Instagram for updates from Panama City.

If you’d still like to attend an event in person, there are several WYD events taking place throughout the US at the same time as the international gathering in Panama. These include festivals with speakers, music and more in cities like Washington DC, Seattle, Honolulu, and others. The complete list can be found here.

4. Latin American saints and spirituality
Organizers of the event are already talking about the infectious energy of Panama City, and the likelihood that, especially with the appearance of the first pope from the Americas, the event will be very focused on a Latin American flavor of Catholicism. Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta of Panama City told Vatican News that he expects most of the pilgrims to come from Latin America.

Images of St Oscar Romero, a very popular and beloved Salvadoran archbishop, will likely be a very visible figure among the Latin American pilgrims. Romero, a tireless advocate for the poor, was assassinated while celebrating mass in 1980, likely by a right-wing death squad. Pope Francis canonized Romero late last year.

This is also the first World Youth Day to overlap with the World Meeting of Indigenous Youth, at which nearly 400 indigenous young people gathered ahead of the WYD celebrations in rural Panama.

5. A visit from Pope Francis
The big question everyone is asking: When will I get to see Pope Francis? Here are a few highlights from his schedule.

Pope Francis will arrive in Panama Wednesday, Jan. 23. The next day, Jan. 24, he will have a meeting with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez at 9:45 am, followed by a meeting with the Central American bishops at 11:15 and then a welcome ceremony to mark the beginning of World Youth Day at 5:30 pm, which will be held at Campo Santa Maria la Antigua.

On Jan. 25, he will meet with young detainees for a penitential service, and later that evening will preside over a “Via Cruces” (Way of the Cross) at Campo Santa Maria la Antigua.

On Saturday morning, Jan. 26, Pope Francis will dedicate the altar of the Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria la Antigua, and that evening will lead a vigil with the young people in Metro Park. Finally, the following morning the Holy Father will preside over the closing mass for WYD at 8 am.

Advertisements

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT WORLD YOUTH DAY IN PANAMA

Here’s a bit of background for the 2019 WYD in Panama – the five things you will want to know about this celebration as Pope Francis today wings his way west to a new adventure. However I’d add a sixth thing: When pronouncing the name of the country, the accent is placed on the final syllable, not the first, thus Panamà!

I’ll have to remember that when I next speak on radio!

Speaking of which: Here is a link to last weekend’s edition of Vatican Insider: https://soundcloud.com/ewtn-radio/vatican-insider-011919-alveda-king

And this weekend will be very special as well when my guest Alessandro Biciocchi and I speak of an opera written by a cardinal.

And speaking of Papal trips – just in: Responding to the questions of several journalists, the director “ad interim” of the Holy See Press Office Alessandro Gisotti affirmed:

“The Apostolic Journey to Japan is in the phase of being studied. As the Holy Father already said on other occasions, he has a great desire to go to this country. Regarding a possible visit to Iraq, as was already also affirmed by Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, on his return from visiting that country last December, the conditions do not exist at present for a visit by the Holy Father.”

Two days ago the Vatican published information for the journalists who will cover the Pope’s February 3-5 trip to the UAE (United Arab Emirates), including a link they must use to request local accreditation. In addition, local authorities notify the media that those who want to bring photographic/video equipment into the UAE, must register that equipment via a separate link. Using that same link, media may request authorization for photos / videos not connected to the travel events.

I have only covered a few papal trips (never on a papal plane but that is at the top of my bucket list!) but do not recall such explicit requests for permission to use photo/video equipment or the necessity to register each piece of equipment with local authorities or to register to take photos of non-papal visit places and events. Colleagues may correct me on this. I do know there are military areas in countries that are off-base to the media.

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT WORLD YOUTH DAY IN PANAMA

Panama City, Panama, Jan 21, 2019 / 04:31 pm (CNA).- The 15th international World Youth Day is set to begin Tuesday, Jan. 22 in Panama City, Panama.

The massive gathering of Catholic youth, which takes place every two or three years, this year will be held for the first time in Central America.

Pope St. John Paul II established World Youth Day in 1985. The first international gathering was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1987.

The purpose of World Youth Day is threefold: a celebration of and putting trust in the young; giving young people a chance to make pilgrimage; and to give young people a chance to encounter the worldwide Catholic community.

The theme for this year’s gathering is taken from Mary’s affirmation of God’s will in Luke 1:38: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

The festivities in Panama end Jan. 27. Here are 5 things you need to know about this year’s World Youth Day (in Spanish, Jornada Mundial de la Juventud or JMJ).

1. How many pilgrims?
Past World Youth Days have typically been held during the northern hemisphere’s summer— August, July, etc. This year the event takes place during the southern hemisphere’s summer, and though Panama lies entirely in the northern hemisphere, it is going to be hot! The forecast for the week shows highs above 90 degrees Fahrenheit for most days.

The timing this year also means WYD is taking place during the school year for young people from the Northern Hemisphere, so it remains to be seen how many young people from the United States will be able to make it. At last count, 11,000 young people from the U.S. are registered. Around 36,000 US youths attended the last WYD in Poland, according to the U.S. bishops’ conference.

In addition to pilgrims, the United States is sending more than 30 bishops, including Cardinals Sean O’Malley of Boston, Blase Cupich of Chicago, and Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston.

Alessandro Gisotti, interim Director of Vatican press office, said as of Jan. 18 that 150,000 young people from 155 countries had signed up as pilgrims, which would make for a smaller group than had attended in previous years— around 2 million pilgrims attended the last World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, and in 1995 an estimated 5 million attended in Manila, Philippines.

However, the international media coordinator for the Archdiocese of Panama has said more recently that at least 408,000 pilgrims have signed up, and the number is expected to grow. Organizers say they expect a crowd of at least 500,000 people for the final mass on Sunday, Jan. 27.

Paul Jarzembowski, World Youth Day national coordinator for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has said they have seen more young people in their 20s participating in this WYD, whereas in years past more of the pilgrims have been teenagers.

2. A man, a plan, a canal…Panama!
Panama is a small Central American nation of about 4 million people. Overall, the country is about 85% Catholic.

Most of the events will be held on Cinta Costera, a 64-acre peninsula jutting into the Panama Bay, which has been renamed Campo Santa Maria la Antigua for WYD.
Pilgrims are also encouraged to check out the historic district of Panama City, Casco Viejo, and to visit the seven historic churches located in the district: La Catedral Metropolitana, La Merced, San Francisco de Asís, San José, San Felipe de Neri, Santo Domingo, and Santa Ana.

Panama City, the capital of the county and home to about 1.5 million people in the metro area, is home to the world-famous Panama Canal, the waterway that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Construction on the canal was completed in 1914 by the US Army Corp of Engineers, at a cost of the lives of nearly 28,000 workers who undertook the project. Today, nearly 14,000 ships cross through the canal each year, the majority bound for the United States.

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez has been a strong supporter of the WYD effort ever since it was announced in 2016 that the next event would be held in his country.

“As a Panamanian,” he told Vatican News, “I feel honored that our country will be at the heart of the world for a few days, pumping the Pope’s message of hope, unity, solidarity and concern for those in need.”

3. Follow the action
For English-speaking pilgrims attending WYD, there are several special events that will be conducted in English while you’re down there.

For example, the USCCB along with the Knights of Columbus and the Fellowship of Catholic University Students are co-sponsoring an event called “Fiat” in Panama City on Jan. 23 at 7pm EST. The event will feature renowned Catholic speakers and musicians. The English and Spanish-speaking event will be livestreamed on FOCUS’ YouTube channel.

If you can’t make it to this year’s World Youth Day, there are several ways to follow along at home. The official hashtags for WYD this year, which you can follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, are #Panama2019, #FranciscoEnPanama, and #JMJestáAqui / #WYDisHere. You can also follow @cnalive on Twitter and @catholicnewsagency on Instagram for updates from Panama City.

If you’d still like to attend an event in person, there are several WYD events taking place throughout the US at the same time as the international gathering in Panama. These include festivals with speakers, music and more in cities like Washington DC, Seattle, Honolulu, and others. The complete list can be found here.

4. Latin American saints and spirituality
Organizers of the event are already talking about the infectious energy of Panama City, and the likelihood that, especially with the appearance of the first pope from the Americas, the event will be very focused on a Latin American flavor of Catholicism. Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta of Panama City told Vatican

News that he expects most of the pilgrims to come from Latin America.
Images of St Oscar Romero, a very popular and beloved Salvadoran archbishop, will likely be a very visible figure among the Latin American pilgrims. Romero, a tireless advocate for the poor, was assassinated while celebrating mass in 1980, likely by a right-wing death squad. Pope Francis canonized Romero late last year.

This is also the first World Youth Day to overlap with the World Meeting of Indigenous Youth, at which nearly 400 indigenous young people gathered ahead of the WYD celebrations in rural Panama.

5. A visit from Pope Francis
The big question everyone is asking: When will I get to see Pope Francis? Here are a few highlights from his schedule.

Pope Francis will arrive in Panama Wednesday, Jan. 23. The next day, Jan. 24, he will have a meeting with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez at 9:45 am, followed by a meeting with the Central American bishops at 11:15 and then a welcome ceremony to mark the beginning of World Youth Day at 5:30 pm, which will be held at Campo Santa Maria la Antigua.

On Jan. 25, he will meet with young detainees for a penitential service, and later that evening will preside over a “Via Cruces” (Way of the Cross) at Campo Santa Maria la Antigua.

On Saturday morning, Jan. 26, Pope Francis will dedicate the altar of the Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria la Antigua, and that evening will lead a vigil with the young people in Metro Park. Finally, the following morning the Holy Father will preside over the closing mass for WYD at 8 am.

POPE FRANCIS DEPARTS FOR WYD IN PANAMA – EN ROUTE TO PANAMA, FRANCIS PAYS TRIBUTE TO LATE JOURNALIST – PAPAL AGENDA IN PANAMA

Keep up with World Youth Day 2019 here: http://www.ewtn.com/wyd2019/

Also here, especially for live streaming:

For English Language commentary, EWTN Vatican Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/EWTNVatican/

For Spanish Language commentary, EWTN Vaticano Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ewtnvaticano/

POPE FRANCIS DEPARTS FOR WYD IN PANAMA

Pope Francis departed Wednesday for Panama where he will participate in the events of the 34th World Youth Day. This marks the Pope’s first journey in 2019.

The Pope departed on an Alitalia flight from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport at 9.51am (local) and is scheduled to land in Panama at around 10:30 p.m. Italian time. Upon arrival at Panama’s Tocumen International Airport, the Pope will go directly to the Apostolic Nunciature, where he will stay for the duration of the visit.

His journey will get underway in earnest on Thursday with an official welcome at the Presidential Palace and a meeting with authorities and diplomats. Later in the day, Pope Francis will meet with Bishops from Central America. The highlight of Thursday, however, will be the opening of the World Youth Day ceremony at the Coastal Belt at 17.30 local time.

In a tweet before his departure the Pope said, “I am leaving for the World Youth Day in Panama. I ask you to pray for this very beautiful and important event on the path of the Church.”

The theme for World Youth Day 2019 is taken from the Gospel of St. Luke: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

EN ROUTE TO PANAMA, FRANCIS PAYS TRIBUTE TO LATE JOURNALIST

Exchanging words of greeting with journalists aboard the papal flight to Panama, Pope Francis remembered Russian journalist, Alexej Bukalov, who died last December.
By Andrea Tornielli (vaticannews)

“A man of great humanity” able to provide a synthesis with the style of Dostoevsky: Pope Francis was visibly moved when speaking these words after greeting journalists on the plane to Panama. He was remembering Alexej Bukalov, Rome correspondent of the TASS news agency and veteran journalist of papal flights. Bukalov, who followed papal journeys right up until the most recent one, passed away on 28 December last, aged 78.

After thanking the journalists who will be reporting on his activities and words in the next few days in Panama, for the intense work they will be carrying out, the Pope said with audible emotion: “This is the first flight in which a colleague of yours, Alexei Bukalov of TASS news agency, to whom I was very close, is missing.”

“He was a man, Francis added, of great humanity. A kind of humanity that is not afraid of plumbing the lowest depths of human nature, and of ascending to the Divine. A man capable of providing a synthesis in the style of Dostoevsky.”

The Pope then asked everyone to observe a moment of silence in memory of the Russian journalist and concluded with the Lord’s prayer. The journalists reacted to the Pope’s tribute to their colleague with a round of warm applause.

Before the papal greeting, papal trip organizer, Monsignor Mauricio Rueda Belz, introduced Alessandro Gisotti, the “ad interim” Holy See Press Office Director, on his first papal journey in this role.

PAPAL AGENDA IN PANAMA

Pope Francis is in Panama from January 23 to 27, for the 34th World Youth Day that started on January 22nd.
Pope Francis’ schedule in Panama:

Wednesday, 23 January 2019
ROME-PANAMA
9:35 Departure by air from Rome/Fiumicino for Panama
16:30 Arrival at Tocumen International Airport in Panama
Official welcome
16:50 Transfer to the Apostolic Nunciature

Thursday, 24 January 2019
PANAMA
9:45 Welcome ceremony at the main entrance of Palacio de las Garzas – Presidency of the Republic
Courtesy visit to the President of the Republic in Palacio de las Garzas – Presidency of the Republic
10:40 Meeting with the Authorities, with the Diplomatic Corps and with Representatives of Society in Palacio Bolivar – Ministry of Foreign Affairs
11:15 Meeting with Central American Bishops in the Church of San Francisco de Asis
17:30 Welcome ceremony and opening of WYD at Campo Santa Maria la Antigua – Cinta Costera

Friday, 25 January 2019
PANAMA
10:30 Penitential liturgy with young detainees in the Centro de Cumplimiento de Menores Las Garzas de Pacora
11:50 Transfer by helicopter to the Apostolic Nunciature
17:30 Via Crucis with young people at Campo Santa Maria la Antigua – Cinta Costera

Saturday, 26 January 2019
PANAMA
9:15 Holy Mass with the dedication of the altar of the Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria la Antigua with priests, consecrated persons and lay movements
12:15 Lunch with young people in the San José Major Seminary
18:30 Vigil with young people at Campo San Juan Pablo II – Metro Park

Sunday, 27 January 2019
PANAMA-ROME
8:00 Holy Mass for World Youth Day at Campo San Juan Pablo II – Metro Park
10:45 Visit to the Casa Hogar del Buen Samaritano
Angelus
16:30 Meeting with the WYD volunteers in the Rommel Fernandez Stadium
18:00 Farewell ceremony at Panama International Airport
18:15 Departure by air for Rome

Monday, 28 January 2019
PANAMA-ROME
11:50 Arrival at Rome-Ciampino International Airport

PANAMA PREPARING TO WELCOME POPE FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY

PANAMA PREPARING TO WELCOME POPE FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY

Pope Francis leaves Wednesday for Panama, his 26th trip outside of Italy, to celebrate the January 22-27 World Youth Day 2019 during which, among other events, he will give seven speeches and celebrate Masses and a penitential liturgy.

Francis will dedicate the altar of Panama’s recently restored 400-year-old cathedral, hold a meeting and break bread with bishops from Central America, and also share a meal with some of the youth at WYD – this is now a traditional event at these celebrations with Pope Francis. In yet another tradition, he will visit a prison and also go to an HIV center. The Holy Father will be in Panama until January 27th.

The youth day theme is: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

Reports from Panama City say that a massive power outage hit Panama on Sunday (Jan 20), three days before the arrival of Pope Francis for a World Youth Day festival, authorities said. The electric power company ETESA said service to various parts of the country had been affected by “an event in the integrated national system.”

“Teams are working to re-establish service as soon as possible,” the company said on Twitter.

ETESA, which gave no details on the cause of the outage, said power would be restored gradually.

Despite the outage, the capital city’s Tocumen International Airport and the busy and vital Panama Canal were able to activate backup systems and maintain normal operations, authorities said.

But water supplies were affected in several parts of the country. The water treatment plant serving Panama City was among those knocked out, the country’s Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers said on Twitter.

Linda Bordoni of Vaticannews reports that hundreds of thousands of young people are converging on Panama City to participate in the 34th World Youth Day, an event that was established by Pope St. John Paul II in 1984.

She presents an interview with Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez who revealed that preparations to host the event kicked off on July 31, 2016 when Pope Francis wrapped up the World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, with the announcement that Panama City had been chosen as the next venue.

Describing his people as “noble and hard-working” and “full of faith and hope,” he said that since 2009, when the country was preparing to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the establishment of the first Catholic diocese on the American continent, many began to dream of the possibility of a papal visit to Panama. That dream, he said, has finally come true.

The President also noted that to welcome the Pope – not for a pastoral visit to a particular country – but for an event that gathers thousands of young people from all over the world in one place, is perfectly in keeping with Panama’s vocation to be a bridge and a mediator.

Once again, he said, Panama will be the country that “builds bridges between nations and cultures, a meeting point, a starting point for Pope Francis’s message that will be spread from here to all corners of the earth.”

President Varela went on to explain that as well as prepare from a logistic and organizational point of view, so that the pilgrims will be able to experience this gathering with the Pope in the best possible way, authorities have also tried their best to make sure that they will be able to enjoy what their “small, great nation” has to offer.

“Everything is ready,” he said, “mobility, health and emergency plans are already being communicated to the general public.” A new subway line is working, transportation has been increased and new pedestrian routes have been inaugurated.

“As a Panamanian,” he concluded, “I feel honored that our country will be at the heart of the world for a few days, pumping the Pope’s message of hope, unity, solidarity and concern for those in need.” (interview courtesy vaticannews).

JUST IN: POPE FRANCIS’ APOSTOLIC TRIP TO PANAMA FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY

POPE FRANCIS’ APOSTOLIC TRIP TO PANAMA FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 ROME-PANAMA 09:35 Departure by plane from Rome / Fiumicino to Panama

4.30 pm Arrival at Panama Tocumen International Airport. OFFICIAL WELCOME

16:50 Transfer to the Apostolic Nunciature

Thursday, 24 January 2019 PANAMÁ

09:45 WELCOME CEREMONY at the main entrance of the Presidency of the Republic – Palacio de las Garzas – COURTESY VISIT TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC in the Presidency of the Republic – Palacio de las Garzas

10:40 MEETING with the AUTHORITIES, with the DIPLOMATIC CORPS and with the REPRESENTATIVES OF Society in the Palacio Bolivar – Ministry of Foreign Affairs Discourse of the Holy Father

11:15 MEETING WITH THE CENTRAL-AMERICAN BISHOPS in the church of S. Francisco de Asis Discourse of the Holy Father

17:30 WELCOMING CEREMONY AND OPENING OF WYD in the Campo Santa Maria la Antigua – Cinta Costera Address of the Holy Father

Friday, January 25, 2019 PANAMÁ

10:30 PENITENTIAL LITURGY WITH THE YOUNG DEPRIVED OF FREEDOM in the Las Garzas de Pacora Child Enforcement Center – Homily of the Holy Father

11:50 am Transfer by helicopter to the Apostolic Nunciature

17:30 VIA CRUCIS WITH THE YOUTH in the Campo Santa Maria la Antigua – Cinta Costera – Address of the Holy Father

Saturday 26 January 2019 PANAMÁ

09.15 am SANTA MESSA with the dedication of the altar of the Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria la Antigua with Priests, Consecrated and Lay Movements Homily of the Holy Father

12:15 Lunch with the youth at the San José Major Seminary

18:30 VIGIL WITH YOUNG PEOPLE in Camp San Juan Pablo II – Metro Park Address of the Holy Father

Sunday, January 27, 2019 PANAMÁ -ROMA

08:00 HOLY MASS for World Youth Day in Campo San Juan Pablo II – Metro Park -Omelia of the Holy Father

10:45 VISIT TO THE HANAR HOUSE OF THE Good Samaritan Address of the Holy Father Angelus of the Holy Father

16:30 MEETING WITH WYD Volunteers in the Rommel Fernandez Stadium Address of the Holy Father

18:00 DISCOUNT CEREMONY at Panama International Airport.

18:15 Departure by plane to Rome

Monday 28 January 2019 ROME 11:50 Arrival at Rome / Ciampino Airport

POPE’S MESSAGE FOR WYD: DO NOT BE AFRAID! – SPIRITUAL EXERCISES: LEARNING TO DRINK FROM OUR OWN THIRST – SPIRITUAL EXERCISES: THE PRODIGAL SON

Pope Francis’ Message for WYD 2018 was published today in several languages and summaries are offered at vaticannews.va

For the full text, however, of this very beautiful Message to young people – “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God” (Lk 1:30) – you must go to Press Office and click on Daily Bulletin and this brings you to http://www.vatican.va where you can scroll down to your preferred language:
http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2018/02/22/0142/00290.html#ing

POPE’S MESSAGE FOR WYD: DO NOT BE AFRAID!

Pope Francis’ message for the 33rd World Youth Day, which will be celebrated at diocesan level on Palm Sunday, March 25th, focuses on helping young people to overcome their fears and discern their true vocation (photos vaticannews) – By Philippa Hitchen

In the message, published by the Vatican on Thursday, the Pope notes that the forthcoming celebration marks another step in preparation for the international World Youth Day due to take place in Panama in January 2019. It also precedes the Synod of Bishops on the theme of youth scheduled for October this year, highlighting the importance of young people in the life of the whole Church.

Name your fears

Reflecting on the words of the Angel Gabriel, “Do not be afraid!”, spoken to Mary in St Luke’s Gospel, Pope Francis asks young people to name their own fears. Today, he says, there are many youngsters who continuously photo-shop their images or hide behind false identities, in an attempt to adapt to artificial and unattainable standards. The uncertainty of the jobs market, a sense of inadequacy and a lack of emotional security are other fears that afflict young people, he says.

Discernment

In moments when doubts and fears flood our hearts, the Pope continues, discernment is vital so that we don’t waste energy being gripped by empty and faceless ghosts. The Bible doesn’t ignore the human experience of fear, he says, noting how Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Peter, the apostles and even Jesus himself experienced fear and anguish. The phrase “Do not be afraid” is repeated 365 times in the Bible, the Pope says, “as if to tell us that the Lord wants us to be free from fear, every day of the year”.

Don’t hide behind screens

Pope Francis says discernment should not just be an individual effort at introspection, but also means opening ourselves up to God and to others who can guide us through their own experience. Authentic Christians, he insists, are not afraid to open themselves to others and he urges young people not to close themselves up in a dark room “in which the only window to the outside world is a computer and smart phone”.

Do you accept the challenge?

Just as the Angel calls Mary by name, the Pope continues, so each one of us is called personally by God. Through God’s grace, we can take courage, despite all the doubts, difficulties and temptations that crop up along our way. If we allow ourselves to be touched by Mary’s example, he says, we too can learn to love God and to dedicate ourselves to the weakest and poorest among us. “Dear young people,” the Pope concludes, “as WYD in Panama draws closer, I invite you to prepare yourselves with joy and enthusiasm. WYD is for the courageous! Do you accept the challenge?”

SPIRITUAL EXERCISES: LEARNING TO DRINK FROM OUR OWN THIRST

Jesus’ own struggle with human weakness and temptation was Fr. José Tolentino Mendonça’s focus in the Wednesday afternoon meditation of spiritual exercises to the Pope and the Roman Curia, in Ariccia.

By Debora Donnini

In the seventh meditation of the Curial spiritual exercises in Ariccia, Father José Tolentino Mendonça proposes that our poverty is the place where Jesus intervenes. The greatest obstacle to the spiritual life is not our fragility, but our rigidity and self-sufficiency. Thus we need to learn from our own thirst. And so, Fr. Tolentino turned his reflections on thirst toward the Passion of Jesus.

Thirst is a path

Fr. Tolentino tells us that spirituality needs to be lived as a communitarian adventure. Gustavo Guitiérrez highlights in his book: “Drinking from a well is the spiritual journey of a people.” The well from which one drinks is a concrete spiritual life. That humanity which we struggle to embrace, our own, and the humanity of others, is the very humanity that Jesus embraces. For he lovingly bows down toward our reality, not toward an ideal that we construct. The mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God means adopting a non-ideological vision of life.

Letting go of the obsession for a perfect life

In a certain sense, thirst humanizes us and is the way that we become spiritually mature” Fr. Tolentino reminds us that it takes a long time to let go of the obsession for perfection in order to conquer the vice of projecting false images onto reality. Thomas Merton wrote that Christ wanted to identify himself with what we do not love about ourselves. This is why he took on himself our misery and our suffering. St Paul also testifies to the theory that faith is paradoxical: “when I am weak, it is then that I am strong.

The three temptations in the desert

The first temptation is for bread. Jesus knows our material needs, but reminds us that it is not by bread alone that we live. His response does not deny reality, but helps us consider that we are a “desert” which needs to be inhabited by the Spirit. To understand the second temptation, Fr. Tolentino used the example of the Israelites in the desert who require Moses to give them something to drink. We like them think that believing means having our thirst satisfied. But Jesus “teaches us to hand over our thirst in silence and abandonment as a prayer.” Jesus responds to the last temptation regarding idols: “The Lord your God you shall adore.” The saying of the Risen Lord in the Gospel of Matthew is helpful: “All power has been given in heaven and on earth.”

Jesus manifests his power in the extreme offering of Himself

The devil wants to be adored, but his power is only apparent, while Christ’s is associated with the mystery of the Christ—the extreme offering of himself. It is an enormous risk when the temptation of power distances us from the mystery of the cross, and thus we distance ourselves from service to our brothers and sisters notes Fr. Tolentino. Jesus teaches us how not to allow ourselves to become slaves to anyone nor to make anyone else a slave, but to worship God alone and to serve others as pastors.

SPIRITUAL EXERCISES: THE PRODIGAL SON

The story of the prodigal son is not a parable but a mirror. This was the theme of Fr. José Tolentino Mendoça’s meditation for the spiritual exercises of the Roman Curia on Thursday morning.
By Sr. Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp

We have all heard the Parable of the Prodigal Son many times. We know the story well – a man has two sons and the younger asks his father for his part of the inheritance. The parable of the prodigal son is our story.

This parable is about each one of us, Fr. Tolentino says. “Within us are feelings that are suffocated, things that need to be clarified, pathologies, countless threads that need to be connected.” In other words, there are many aspects of our lives that need reconciliation. The gift that Jesus wants to give us is his word. In that word, conflicts and fear are transformed. “Only mercy, that excessive love that God teaches us, is able to redeem us.”

Mercy is not deserved

The behavior of the older son helps us understand God’s mercy even more. Mercy has nothing to do with giving to someone what they deserve. Rather, Fr. Tolentino explains, “Mercy is offering to another precisely what they do not deserve.” It is difficult to define mercy precisely because “mercy does not encase itself in one definition.” Mercy can be understood only if we allow it to “incarnate itself”” within us “so that we might touch it.”

Mercy is excessive love

Concluding his reflections, Fr. Tolentino expresses the fact that mercy is always excessive. The moderate person, the person who wants to play it safe, will never understand the Gospel of Mercy. This is because, “The Gospel of Mercy requires that our love be excessive” like the Father’s in the parable who understands everything without saying much. The Father shows us that mercy is gratuitous, it is the art of healing and rebuilding, the experience of forgiveness, the completely unexpected expression of tenderness. In the end, it is an excessive gift.

PALM SUNDAY: THE STORY OF A SAILOR, AN OBELISK AND A PAPAL PROMISE

It was a very busy weekend for Pope Francis, but just a prelude to the upcoming events of Holy Week.

Saturday night he led a prayer vigil with young people in St. Mary Major Basilica, the vigil of the XXXII World Youth Day which is celebrated Palm Sunday in the world’s dioceses. Young people are now and will remain high on the papal agenda leading up to the October 2018 synod that will focus on youth.

Francis also referred to the next World Youth Day in Panama in 2019 and disconcerted not a few in St. Mary’s Basilica when he said, “I don’t know if it will be me, but the pope will be in Panama!” Then, in a reference to his age of 80,“At my age, we (older people) are about to pass away.”

Young people have been contacted for input for the 2018 synod, and the Holy Father noted this at the vigil, saying he wanted to involve not just Catholics but all youth, agnostics and atheists included, telling them, “the future is in your hands.”

On Palm Sunday, under clear skies and a brilliant sun, Pope Francis presided at Mass in St. Peter’s Square amid very tight security with streets adjacent to the square closed to traffic, no parking allowed, army vehicles and armed soldiers clearly in view and airport style security for those entering the square. At Mass, the World Youth Day cross was passed from youth of Krakow, host of the 2016 WYD, to youth from Panama for the 2019 celebration.

In his homily, the Pope spoke of World Youth Day and Holy Week and Easter but also, notably, about all who suffer, “those who suffer from slave labor, family tragedies and diseases … who suffer from wars and terrorism, from interests that are armed and ready to strike.”

After Mass, at the Angelus, Pope Francis remembered the victims of Friday’s attack on Stockholm and then, after being handed a note, spoke out in condemnation of the terror attacks on two Coptic Christian churches in Egypt that killed dozens and injured at least 80. He expressed condolences to Coptic Pope Tawadros II, the Coptic Church and the entire Egyptian nation. “May the Lord,” said the Pope, “convert the hearts of the people who are sowing terror, violence and death, and also the hearts of those who make and traffic weapons.”

Francis is scheduled to visit Cairo at the end of this month.

And now, for one of my favorite stories, an annual post on this page….

PALM SUNDAY: THE STORY OF A SAILOR, AN OBELISK AND A PAPAL PROMISE

It is time once again to tell you the marvelous story of how a sailor from Liguria saved an obelisk from falling and extracted a papal promise for an honor for his native city.

In 1586, Pope Sixtus V, wanting to complete the design of St. Peter’s Square, ordered architect Domenico Fontana to place in the center of the square a giant Egyptian obelisk that had been brought to Rome in 39 A.D. by Emperor Caligula. For centuries it has been in the emperor’s circus in what today is Vatican City, and moving the obelisk from that point to the center of St. Peter’s Square would be a Herculean task.

The obelisk had been in the Vatican gardens, near the first Constantinian basilica (dedicated in 326), and had lain there, forgotten, for many years under layers of mud and stagnant water. Giacomo della Porta was asked by Sixtus V to recover the obelisk and, struck by its majestic beauty, the Pope asked that engineers study a project to raise the obelisk in St. Peter’s Square.

On September 10, the day the 85-foot high, 350-ton obelisk was transported by 900 workers, 140 horses and 44 winches, Benedetto Bresca, a ship’s captain from the Italian Riviera area of San Remo-Bordighera, was in the square.

The head engineer had told Pope Sixtus that total silence was needed to raise the obelisk, once it was in the square. Thus, the Pope announced to the huge crowd that had assembled to watch the manoeuver that anyone who spoke during the delicate and risky operation would face very severe penalties.

As work was underway, the ropes used to raise the obelisk gave signs of fraying and weakening and the obelisk itself began to sway. However, Benedetto, as a sailor, knew what the problem was – and how to solve it and so, notwithstanding the pontiff’s ultimatum, he shouted “water on the cords, water on the cords.” The head engineer realized the sailor was right, the cords were watered, they became taut and strong and the obelisk was raised, without further danger to anyone.

Instead of punishing the audacious sailor, Pope Sixtus rewarded him by giving Benedetto and his descendants the privilege of providing the Vatican with the famous Ligurian palms used for Holy Week ceremonies in the Vatican. And so it has been for over four centuries, with only a few brief interruptions.

Known as parmureli, the leaves from date palm trees in San Remo and Bordighera are woven and braided into intricate sculptures, some only inches high, while others are perhaps two meters high. Some years, more than 200 of the six-foot high parmureli are sent to the Vatican from Liguria for Palm Sunday – for the Pope, cardinals, archbishops, etc. (photos riviera24.it)

Many years ago, when the parmureli arrived by sea, the ship that carried them placed one of the palm leaf sculptures on the mast that usually displayed a flag. The palm “flag” thus gave that vessel from San Remo-Bordighera precedence into the port over all other vessels.

Click here to watch my “Joan’s Rome” video about the obelisk; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WVysLk0Kk8&index=16&list=PL69B6AD83630DB515