By Gina Weiss
A Central American country world-famous for its canal, Panama was selected by Pope Francis as the location of this year’s World Youth Day events, bringing together Catholic youth from around the globe.
With the first World Youth Day taking place under the papacy of Saint Pope John Paul II, both Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have kept the tradition alive of holding these special youth celebrations in different parts of the world every few years since 1985.
The first World Youth Day was held in Vatican City in 1985, with the last being held in Krakow, Poland, in 2016.
Events for World Youth Day take place from January 22nd to 27th in Panama City, Panama. Panama’s patron saint is Our Blessed Mother, known locally as Saint Mary or Santa María La Antigua. Her feast day always falls on the third Sunday of January, which this year was only two days before the start of World Youth Day.
World Youth Day is an opportunity for young people to join in fellowship with Our Holy Father and other Catholic youth from around the world. They come together to strengthen their faith, to be encouraged by their peers and to see other parts of the world, helping them to better appreciate other cultures and to see life from another perspective, whether through the architecture, language or food.
Even if you’re not part of the festivities, you can take part spiritually and support our youth by praying with the Closing Mass celebrated by Pope Francis. Tune in from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Eastern this Sunday, January 27th. Let’s join in prayer for those who attend the events of World Youth Day. May their lives be touched by Jesus and, in turn, may they be able to touch our world for the better.
Tune in on your local affiliate of the Station of the Cross Catholic Radio Network or on our free iCatholicRadio mobile app, available for Android and Apple mobile devices.