WYD19 – Welcoming the Holy Father
Fr Ambrose Pereira sdb
24th January, Panama:
Pope Francis arrived for World Youth Day and received a rousing welcome ceremony at the Santa Maria La Antigua field, Panama City on 24th January, 2019.
Thousands of people joined in welcoming the Holy Father. Dressed in the World Youth Day colours, some where in their traditional costumes, waving banners and flags. The celebration was contagious as the Pope drove through the crowds, as well as all throughout the program.
Choreographed dances representing the continents and the beauty of Panama were presented. Intercessory prayers, a youthful message by the Holy Father, hymns to our Lady and a blessing were part of the program.
The message of the Holy Father to the young evoked responses throughout his speech. “Do not be afraid to awaken in the Church a concrete freshness and energy. It is your respect and your service to our brothers and sisters that is vital”, the pope said. He spoke in defense about the migrants and violence to be counteracted with that of respect.
Earlier he spoke to the Panamanian authorities, diplomats and bishops. “By welcoming the dreams of these young people, Panama becomes once more a land of dreams that opens up vital horizons.” Respectful compassion and the need to reach out to others are vital,” he said.
In the morning, the catechesis at the St Antonio Maria Claret parish was led by Bishop Nicholas Hudson, Bishop of Westminster. At the Eucharist he dwelt on the Saint of the day, St Francis of Sales.