World Youth Day 2019 will take place in Panama City, the Crossroads of the Americas. The Republic of Panama will be the first Central American nation to host the celebration of youth, service, and faith between January 22 and 27 of 2019.
On Palm Sunday in 1984, Pope John Paul II invited hundreds of thousands of young people to Rome. Moved by the joy of the gathering, he announced the institution of World Youth Day. The first international WYD took place in Buenos Aires in 1987. Youth were invited to share their experiences with one another, pray together, and renew their commitment to God. Together, they could learn from Christ, who is eternally young.
When Pope Francis announced that Panama would host World Youth Day in 2019, he signed up online as a pilgrim for the event. The message for WYD 2019 is one of service:
I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word (Lk 1:38).
Panama is a country of contrasts: there is great respect for the preservation of nature and history, while the nation is also ultramodern and multicultural. The Isthmus is a focal point for global trade — the bridge between the Americas and the link between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The diversity of Panama is astounding — you can relax on a pristine beach, bird watch in the tropical rainforest, shop in the largest mall in the Western Hemisphere, explore Pre-Columbian ruins, visit a 500-year-old basilica, or bicycle on a causeway above the ocean.
Panama is a strong democracy, and welcomes immigrants, tourists, and pilgrims from dozens of countries. Safety and modernity are clearly visible, with a strong police presence and impressive infrastructure. Panamanians are eager to practice their English, and are very receptive and conscious of special needs.
While WYD is intended for ages 15-30, ALL ages are welcome. We invite you to come to Panama and represent your country – you will be greeted with a warm embrace from a loving people. I hope that you will join us as we host His Holiness Pope Francis and pilgrims from across the earth.
You can register for your pilgrimage here: https://panama2019.pa/en/registration-of-pilgrims/. Through your parish, you may also register and travel in a group.
I invite you to visit our embassy website for more specific information about WYD 2019 before planning your trip to Panama: http://www.embassyof-panama.ca
May God bless you,
Alberto Arosemena Medina
of Panama to Canada