Tuesday 23rd - HOMILY OF THE MASS WELCOMING THE PILGRIMS
January 22nd, 2019, Santa María la Antigua Field
Mons. José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, O.S.A.
Dear young pilgrims and people of God:
We are immensely joyful because of your presence. Today, PANAMA receives you with an open heart and arms wide open. Thank you for accepting the call to meet us in this small country, one where the faith arrived by the hand of the Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of Santa María la Antigua (Our Lady of Antigua). A country that has done its best so that each one of you have an encounter with Jesus Christ: the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
WE ARE THE FIRST DIOCESE ON “TIERRA FIRME,” and from here, the Gospel radiated to the rest of the Americas, always under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother. She has always accompanied us; that’s why it’s not strange that in this encounter with Jesus at this World Youth Day, it is Mary who has encouraged and continues encouraging us toward the celebration of this historic event that we, the youth of the world, will all live together.
Let us give thanks to God for allowing us to be the host of the first World Youth Day where Mary, “the star of evangelization,” has been proposed to you as the model of bravery and courage, who was available to do the will of God for the project that she was chosen to do, and whose response is the theme of this WYD: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
THANK YOU POPE FRANCIS for trusting us and giving us the opportunity to hold a gathering for the youth of the existential and geographic peripheries. We hope that it will be a balm for the difficult situation in which many of them live in without hope, especially the indigenous youth and youth of african descent, the youth who migrates after receiving almost no response from their countries of origin, that send them to find their hope in other countries, exposing them to drug trafficking, human trafficking, crime, and many other social evils.
For the Catholic Church, like other countries of faith in our country, but particularly in communion with the Episcopal Secretariat of Central America and Panama, that is comprised of all the bishops of the region, you are very important. An entire human organization has organized so that you may have the least necessary conditions to live this pilgrimage in this small country. You, dear pilgrims of different countries of our planet earth, will meet a small piece of the entire world in Panama. Our story of service, of being a point of encounter, of unity in diversity, without distinction of creed, race, age, gender, makes us a blessed country.
Thank you for your presence in this country, which starting from now, is the capital of the youth of the world, where, with brotherly warmth and the climate of this season, favorable conditions are created so that you can coexist with your peers, sharing dreams, hopes, and projects, and by the power the Holy Spirit, commit to bringing about a revolution of love, which will not be easy, but isn’t impossible if we place our trust in God.
What country will the pilgrims find?
Those who have had the experience of the Days in the Dioceses in both Panama and Costa Rica have had a sample of what the pilgrims will live in this small country.
Our people are ready to receive you, to share their traditions, the multi-ethnic and pluricultural richness, but especially to share the joy of the faith in one God, who is acting among us, in our personal and communal history.
The host parishes and homes have had the necessary preparation to give the best of who we are: our affection, our closeness, our fraternity, to adopt you as a true family, the family of God.
Openness to hearing God
In these days of WYD, you will have the opportunity to have catechesis with the bishops of various countries (you can expect interesting formation); the Garden of Forgiveness where there will be spaces for confession, to reconcile yourself with God; the Youth Festival where a variety of talent from many countries will offer opportunities to enliven your spirit; and the most special encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist, spiritual food to deal with the challenges of life.
This encounter you young people will have with Jesus Christ should bring you to confront yourselves and the indoctrination of the system of anti-values that prevails in the search for false happiness, which is so fleeting that it brings desperation with so many things that attack the mind and the spirit and, in the end, do not fill the existential emptiness.
Young people: the call is still active, enduring, intense, full of the tenderness that only Christ can express. Maybe as a Church, we have been unable to transmit this with enough clarity because sometimes we adults think that young people don’t want to listen, that they are deaf and empty. However, the reality is different. You need direction and accompaniment from us, but above all for us to listen to you.
We know that you are not easily impressed. Sayings, theatrical speeches, and slogans designed to incite emotions do not work.
We know that just as in Jesus’ times, young people search for witnesses, references filled with content and experience, who have walked the path by foot, with mileage, and not an intellectualized or thought-up God. You search for someone to show you God with their life and not someone who speaks of God.
Young people, true protagonists of WYD
In the Church, we are waiting for this young springtime. We believe in you, we have a lot of hope in you, because you are totally convinced that the true protagonists for the change and transformation that humanity and the Church requires are in your hands, in your abilities, in your vision of a better world.
To take on this great challenge, you must prepare yourself in conscience, knowing your personal, family, social, and cultural story, but above all your faith story. Only then, from the hands of your grandparents and elders, can you transform those situations of injustice and inequity that injure society with the joy of the Gospel.
The Blessed Virgin Mary, the young lady of Nazareth, is a trustworthy model to follow because of her openness and service to the will of God. It was that young woman who dared to give her YES to the plan of God, without fear, despite what it implied, in the midst of the risks that this meant in those moments. But regardless, she said yes, because she knew the promise that God made with his people, that he would send the Savior. Her life of faith gave her the strength and trust in God that allowed her to take on being the mother of God made man.
In the eyes of Mary, each youth can rediscover the beauty of discernment; in her heart, you can experience the tenderness of the intimacy and courage of her testimony and her mission.
Therefore, this WYD has been entrusted to Mary. Trusting in Mary is not only asking her to help us or asking her intercession in everything. It is also acting like her. Let us imitate her openness to serve, like she did for her cousin Elizabeth. Are we open enough for a sword to pierce our heart as it happened to Mary when she experience the passion of her Son and patiently awaited the joyful Resurrection?
In the Church, during the preparation for WYD, we have seen and discovered young people who are able to give themselves in sacrifice for others. Young talent and leadership has emerged that has sustained the organization of this WYD, that have given themselves regardless of the time. This is a valuable demonstration that you can take on unthinkable projects.
Visible indigenous youth and youth of African descent
There has also been a wonderful experience with the indigenous youth and youth of African descent. They have had gatherings before WYD to engage their specific realities. This marks a milestone for WYD because for the first time, they have a specific space.
World Youth Day in this region would not be possible without making their situation visible because they represent a significant number of the population of these continents, these youth who live in situations of exclusion and discrimination, that can be found on the margins and in poverty.
In the WYD African Descendant Forum, young leaders of different religions and ideologies have shown their ability to generate answers together to their situation of discrimination and exclusion, demanding public policies in the framework of justice, education, work, and the vindication of women from their culture and ethnicity, both in social and religious spaces. The importance of recovering the historical memory with our grandparents and elders, has also been of vital importance of the youth of African descent.
The indigenous youth had their World Gathering where they also focused on the living memory of their peoples, in their fight to maintain harmony with Mother Earth from the richness of their cultures in light of Laudato Si’ and the importance of their active participation in the construction of a better world. For the indigenous youth, the message of Pope Francis was encouraging.
An instrument for formation: the DOCAT
Along with the formation of our young people, we are proposing you to learn the Social Doctrine of the Church, through a technological instrument that will strengthen young leadership. This is a dream of Pope Francis that we also want you young pilgrims to take on, especially in the Central American region, because one way of dealing with the adversities from our faith is knowing the social thought of the Church, to make the revolution of love and justice a reality.
The gift of the pope to the Central American youth is the DOCAT Book and the DOCAT App that will be given during WYD and is an opportunity so that you can responsible take on your leading role.
Saints to transform reality
In his apostolic exhortation about “The call to live holiness in today’s world,” Pope Francis highlighted that holiness has its risks, challenges, and opportunities. Because the Lord has chosen each one of us “to be holy and blameless before him in love” (Eph 1:4).
And to be holy is not having the face of the figures in holy cards that we buy wherever. No, dear brothers and sisters, dear young people. We can all be saints: even when we think that our existence has no great value because of all the sins we have committed. All of us can live and reach holiness.
The Holy Father tells us that to be a saint, you must go against the current. You must know how to cry, to leave behind the logic “of stopping suffering,” that “much energy is expended on fleeing from situations of suffering.” The holy one makes us go out of spiritual and material corruption, out of all that causes us evil and offends God.
A saint defends the helpless: the unborn, but also those born into misery. A saint defends migrants, seeks justice, prays, lives, and loves their community, is joyful and has a sense of humor, always struggles, gets out of mediocrity, lives the mercy of God, and shares with their neighbor.
Being a saint is not a myth. It is a tangible reality. The testimony of the life of the patron saints of WYD are proof of it: Saint Martin de Porres, Saint Rose of Lima, Saint Juan Diego, Saint José Sánchez del Río, Saint John Bosco, Blessed Sister María Romero Meneses, Saint Óscar Romero, Saint John Paul II. All of them show us that a life of holiness is possible in every culture and ethnic group, without distinction of gender, nor age. The generous self-sacrifice of their lives for God and their neighbor made them reach holiness.
Do not fear, dear young people, have the courage to be saints in the world of today. Do not renounce your youth or your joy with this. On the contrary, show the world that it is possible to be happy with so little, because Jesus Christ, the reason for our joy, has already won us eternal life with his Resurrection.
Dear young people that have prepared for World Youth Day, I invite you to be open to live, from this moment on with humility and availability of believers, this historic experience on this Panamanian Isthmus, where faith arrived more than 500 years ago. We hope that today you can say at the end of WYD that we have sent new disciples of Jesus Christ to the world to radiate the joy of the Gospel throughout the world. The Gospel of mercy and the love of God.
During these days, Panama City will be a great “House of prayer and Christian promotion.” The Word of God will resound at all times and on every corner of Panama.
Everything is ready to live this festival of love for God among us. But don’t forget that it is Mary who brings us by the hand, and Pope Francis, as the Vicar of Christ, will strengthen and reaffirm us in the faith.
Message From Ameera Ahmed
“Today (January 23rd) was a great but tiring day. Day started with Morning prayer led by the Crumlin crew – which was slightly overshadowed by the Australians getting music ready for the Catechesis!
However, it was still very prayerful and ended with each person saying what they were especially grateful for throughout the past week here.
This was quickly followed by Catechesis led by the Australian team. The music was amazing! Lively, prayerful and got everyone moving. There was great energy in the place. There was also a very good testimony from a young Australian seminarian. He spoke about his own journey, trying to figure out if becoming a priest was the right thing for him, and how the answer came to him while praying about discernment for Marriage with his girl friend at the time.
The highlight of Catechesis for me was the input from Archbishop Simon Pho from Malaysia. He was AMAZING! Very enthused, very real and down to earth. He spoke about how he had dreams of being an engineer or an architect before being called to be a Priest. He spoke of how his journey from being a Priest to Archbishop was challenging for him and encouraged him to allow God to lead his life. His journey was a demonstration of Daring to say Yes to God. The key takeaway from his story for me was this: For young people who are not sure what to do with any situation in life, spend time talking to God about it. The real challenge is having the courage to acknowledge and follow His call.
Second half of the day was the journey to Cinta Costera, where the Welcoming Ceremony with the Pope took place. The entire field erupted with joy once the Pope arrived – the energy was electric. We even had one of our very own pilgrims Dearbhla participate in the Flag ceremony representing Ireland! Woo! The Pope’s message was as always very touching and real and down to earth. The media team (myself, Victoria and Mati) had received our passes – so we were able to get good pics and videos to try to capture the atmosphere experience. Video is in progress!
I’ll end this with a snippet I took from the Pope’s speech tonight as this resonated with me: “Christianity is not a collection of rules or prohibitions. Christianity is a person who loves us so much, and asks us to live with the same love. What unites us is the certainty of knowing we are loved. Do not be afraid to love.”
DARE TO SAY YES
Thursday 24th January - Video from Panama
Friday 25th January - Pope Francis' Speech at WYD
Dear Young People, good evening!
How good it is to get together again, this time in a land that receives us with such radiance and warmth! As we gather in Panama, World Youth Day is once more a celebration of joy and hope for the whole Church and, for the world, a witness of faith.
I remember that in Krakow several people asked me if I was going to be in Panama, and I told them: “I don’t know, but certainly Peter will be there. Peter is going to be there”. Today I am happy to say to you: Peter is with you, to celebrate and renew you in faith and hope. Peter and the Church walk with you, and we want to tell you not to be afraid, to go forward with the same fresh energy and restlessness that helps make us happier and more available, better witnesses to the Gospel. To go forward, not to create a parallel Church that would be more “fun” or “cool” thanks to a fancy youth event, as if that were all you needed or wanted. That way of thinking would not respect either you or everything that the Spirit is saying through you.
Not at all! With you, we want to rediscover and reawaken the Church’s constant freshness and youth, opening ourselves to a new Pentecost (cf. SYNOD ON YOUNG PEOPLE, Final Document, 60). As we experienced at the Synod, this can only happen if, by our listening and sharing, we encourage each other to keep walking and to bear witness by proclaiming the Lord through service to our brothers and sisters, and concrete service at that.
I know getting here was not easy. I know how much effort and sacrifice was required for you to participate in this Day. Many weeks of work and commitment, and encounters of reflection and prayer, have made the journey itself largely its own reward. A disciple is not merely someone who arrives at a certain place, but one who sets out decisively, who is not afraid to take risks and keeps walking. This is the great joy: to keep walking. You have not been afraid to take risks and to keep journeying. Today we were all able to “get here” because for some time now, in our various communities, we have all been “on the road” together.
We come from different cultures and peoples, we speak different languages and we wear different clothes. Each of our peoples has had a different history and lived through different situations. We are different in so many ways! But none of it has stopped us from meeting one another and rejoicing to be together. The reason for this, we know, is that something unites us. Someone is a brother to us. You, dear friends, have made many sacrifices to be able to meet one another and in this way you have become true teachers and builders of the culture of encounter. By your actions and your approach, your way of looking at things, your desires and above all your sensitivity, you discredit and defuse the kind of talk that is intent on sowing division, on excluding or rejecting those who are not “like us”. It is because you have that instinct which knows intuitively that “true love does not eliminate legitimate differences, but harmonizes them in a superior unity” (BENEDICT XVI, Homily, 25 January 2006). On the other hand, we know that the father of lies prefers people who are divided and quarrelling to people who have learned to work together.
You teach us that encountering one another does not mean having to look alike, or think the same way or do the same things, listening to the same music or wearing the same football jersey. No, not at all… The culture of encounter is a call inviting us to dare to keep alive a shared dream. Yes, a great dream, a dream that has a place for everyone. The dream for which Jesus gave his life on the cross, for which the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost and brought fire to the heart of every man and woman, in your hearts and mine, in the hope of finding room to grow and flourish. A dream named Jesus, sown by the Father in the confidence that it would grow and live in every heart. A dream running through our veins, thrilling our hearts and making them dance whenever we hear the command: “that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:34-35).
A saint from these lands liked to say that, “Christianity is not a collection of truths to be believed, of rules to be followed, or of prohibitions. Seen that way it puts us off. Christianity is a person who loved me immensely, who demands and asks for my love. Christianity is Christ” (cf. Saint Oscar Romero, Homily, 6 November 1977). It means pursuing the dream for which he gave his life: loving with the same love with which he loved us.
We can ask: What keeps us united? Why are we united? What prompts us to encounter each other? The certainty of knowing that we have been loved with a profound love that we neither can nor want to keep quiet about a love that challenges us to respond in the same way: with love. It is the love of Christ that urges us on (cf. 2 Cor 5:14).
A love that does not overwhelm or oppress, cast aside or reduce to silence, humiliate or domineer. It is the love of the Lord, a daily, discreet and respectful love; a love that is free and freeing, a love that heals and raises up. The love of the Lord has to do more with raising up than knocking down, with reconciling than forbidding, with offering new changes than condemning, with the future than the past. It is the quiet love of a hand outstretched to serve, a commitment that draws no attention to itself.
Do you believe in this love? Is it a love that makes sense?
This is the same question and invitation that was addressed to Mary. The angel asked her if she wanted to bear this dream in her womb and give it life, to make it take flesh. She answered: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). Mary found the courage to say “yes”. She found the strength to give life to God’s dream. The angel is asking the same thing of each of you, and of me. Do you want this dream to come alive? Do you want to make it take flesh with your hands, with your feet, with your gaze, with your heart? Do you want the Father’s love to open new horizons for you and bring you along paths never imagined or hoped for, dreamt or expected, making our hearts rejoice, sing and dance?
Do we have the courage to say to the angel, as Mary did: Behold the servants of the Lord; let it be done?
Dear young friends, the most hope-filled result of this Day will not be a final document, a joint letter or a programme to be carried out. The most hope-filled result of this meeting will be your faces and a prayer. Each of you will return home with the new strength born of every encounter with others and with the Lord. You will return home filled with the Holy Spirit, so that you can cherish and keep alive the dream that makes us brothers and sisters, and that we must not let grow cold in the heart of our world. Wherever we may be and whatever we may do, we can always look up and say, “Lord, teach me to love as you have loved us”. Will you repeat those words with me? “Lord, teach me to love as you have loved us”.
We cannot conclude this first encounter without giving thanks. Thank you to all those who have prepared this World Youth Day with so much enthusiasm. Thank you for encouraging one another to build up and to welcome, and for saying “yes” to God’s dream of seeing his sons and daughters gathered. Thank you to Archbishop Ulloa and his team who have helped Panama to be today not only a channel that joins oceans, but also a channel where God’s dream continues to find new streams that enable it to grow, to multiply and to spread to every corner of the earth.
Dear friends, may Jesus bless you and Santa Maria Antigua ever accompany you, so that we can say without fear, as she does: “I am here. Let it be done”.
Sunday 27th January
Pope Francis Homily for WYD Concluding Mass
Homily – Holy Mass
Metro Park, 27 January 2019
“The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them: ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing’” (Lk 4:20-21).
With these words, the Gospel presents the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. It started in the synagogue that saw him grow up; he was in the midst of neighbours and people he knew, and perhaps even some of his childhood “catechists” who had taught him the Law. It was an important moment in the life of the Master: the child who was educated and grew up in that community, stood up and took the floor to proclaim and put into action God’s dream. A word previously proclaimed only as a future promise, but now, on the lips of Jesus alone, could be spoken in the present tense, as it became a reality: “Today it has been fulfilled”.
Jesus reveals the now of God, who comes to meet us and call us to take part in his now of “proclaiming good news to the poor… bringing liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, setting at liberty those who are oppressed, announcing the year of the Lord’s favour” (Lk 4:18-19). This is the now of God. It becomes present with Jesus: it has a face, it is flesh. It is a merciful love that does not wait for ideal or perfect situations to show itself, nor does it accept excuses for its appearance. It is God’s time, that makes every situation and place both right and proper. In Jesus, the promised future begins and becomes life.
When? Now. Yet not everyone who was listening felt invited or called. Not all the residents of Nazareth were prepared to believe in someone they knew and had seen grow up, and who was now inviting them to realize a long-awaited dream. Not only that, but “they said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’” (Lk 4:22).
The same thing can also happen with us. We do not always believe that God can be that concrete and commonplace, that close and real, and much less that he can become so present and work through somebody like a neighbour, a friend, a relative. We do not always believe that the Lord can invite us to work and soil our hands with him in his Kingdom in that simple and blunt a way. It is hard to accept that “God’s love can become concrete and can almost be experienced in history with all its painful and glorious vicissitudes” ( BENEDICT XVI, General Audience, 28 September 2005).
Often we too behave like the neighbours in Nazareth: we prefer a distant God: nice, good, generous but far-off, a God who does not inconvenience us. Because a close and everyday God, a friend and brother, demands that we be concerned with our surroundings, everyday affairs and above all fraternity. God chose not to reveal himself as an angel or in some spectacular way, but to give us a face that is fraternal and friendly, concrete and familiar. God is real because love is real; God is concrete because love is concrete. Indeed, this “concrete manifestation of love is one of the essential elements in the life of Christians” ( BENEDICT XVI, Homily, 1 March 2006).
We can also run the same risks as the neighbours at Nazareth, when within our communities the Gospel seeks to be lived concretely. We begin to say: But these young people, aren’t they the children of Mary, Joseph, aren’t they the brothers and sisters of so and so? Are these not the youngsters we saw grow up? That one over there, wasn’t he the one who kept breaking windows with his ball? What was born as prophecy and proclamation of the kingdom of God gets domesticated and impoverished. Attempts to domesticate the word of God occur daily.
You too, dear young people, can experience this whenever you think that your mission, your vocation, even your life itself, is a promise far off in the future, having nothing to do with the present. As if being young were a kind of waiting room, where we sit around until we are called. And in the “meantime”, we adults or you yourselves invent a hygienically sealed future, without consequences, where everything is safe, secure and “well insured”. A “make-believe” happiness. So we “ tranquilize ” you, we numb you into keeping quiet, not asking or questioning; and in that “meantime” your dreams lose their buoyancy, they begin to become flat and dreary, petty and plaintive (cf. Palm Sunday Homily, 25 March 2018). Only because we think, or you think, that your now has not yet come, that you are too young to be involved in dreaming about and working for the future.
One of the fruits of the last Synod was the enrichment that came from being able to meet and above all to listen to one another. The enrichment of intergenerational dialogue, the enrichment of exchange and the value of realizing that we need one another, that we have to work to create channels and spaces that encourage dreaming of and working for tomorrow, starting today. And this, not in isolation, but rather side by side, creating a common space. A space that is not simply taken for granted, or won in a lottery, but a space for which you too must fight.
You, dear young people, are not the future but the now of God. He invites you and calls you in your communities and cities to go out and find your grandparents, your elders; to stand up and with them to speak out and realize the dream that the Lord has dreamed for you.
Not tomorrow but now, for wherever your treasure is, there will your heart also be (cf. Mt 6:21). Whatever you fall in love with, it will win over not only your imagination, it will affect everything. It will be what makes you get up in the morning, what keeps you going at times of fatigue, what will break open your hearts and fill you with wonder, joy and gratitude. Realize that you have a mission and fall in love; that will decide everything (cf. PEDRO ARRUPE, S.J., Nada es más práctico). We may possess everything, but if we lack the passion of love, we will have nothing. Let us allow the Lord to make us fall in love!
For Jesus, there is no “meantime”, but only a merciful love that wants to enter into and win over our hearts. He wants to be our treasure, because he is not a “meantime”, an interval in life or a passing fad; he is generous love that invites us to entrust ourselves.
He is concrete, close, real love. He is festive joy, born of opting for and taking part in the miraculous draught of hope and charity, solidarity and fraternity, despite the paralyzed and paralyzing gaze born of fear and exclusion, speculation and manipulation.
Brothers and sisters, the Lord and his mission are not a “meantime” in our life, something temporary; they are our life!
In a special way throughout these days, Mary’s fiat has been whispering like a kind of music in the background. She not only believed in God and in his promises as something possible, she believed God himself and dared to say “yes” to taking part in this now of the Lord. She felt she had a mission; she fell in love and that decided everything.
As in the synagogue of Nazareth, the Lord stands up again among us his friends and acquaintances; he takes the book and says to us “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk 4:21).
Do you want to live out your love in a practical way? May your “yes” continue to be the gateway for the Holy Spirit to give us a new Pentecost for the world and for the Church.
* * *
At the conclusion of this celebration, I thank God for having given us the opportunity to share these days together and to experience once more this World Youth Day.
In particular, I would like to thank the President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez, the Presidents of other nations and the other political and civil authorities for their presence at this celebration.
I thank Bishop José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, Archbishop of Panama, for his generosity and hard work in hosting this World Youth Day in his diocese, as well as the other bishops of this and the neighbouring countries, for all they have done in their communities to provide accommodation and assistance to the great numbers of young people.
My thanks also go to all those who have supported us with their prayers, and who have helped by their efforts and hard work to make this World Youth Day dream come true in this country.
And to you, dear young people, a big “thank you”. Your faith and joy have made Panama, America and the entire world shake! As we have heard so many times in these days in the song of this World Youth Day: “As your pilgrim people we are gathered here today from every continent and city”. We are on a journey, keep walking, keep living the faith and sharing it. Do not forget that you are not the tomorrow, you are not the “meantime”; you are the now of God.
The venue for the next World Youth Day has already been announced. I ask you not to let the fervour of these days grow cold. Go back to your parishes and communities, to your families and your friends, and share this experience, so that others can resonate with the strength and enthusiasm that is yours. With Mary, keep saying “yes” to the dream that God has sown in you.
And, please, do not forget to pray for me.
Message from Natalie Doherty
After serious blistering heat, we made it out & back to all the Papal events. It was a struggle but it was worth it. We managed to have amazing vantage points for all events. The vigil was a noisy, spectacular festival, and while insect repellent was the main order of the day, it was an experience that can’t be put into words. This evening, tiredness it at a serious high & we’re taking it easy before a debrief & sharing in the morning. We’ll reflect on the catechesis sessions, opening Mass, welcome of Pope Francis, Way of the Cross, Vigil & Papal Mass - a lot to pack into a few days! We also need to plan for Portugal.... 😊 PS did you see us on RTÉ this morning?!??
Photos From Panama