Taking place in Soloy, in the Panamanian Diocese of David, from January 17-21, is the World Meeting of Indigenous Youth (WMIY), in preparation for the 2019 World Youth Day (WYD), in which more than 1,000 indigenous youths, from different parts of the world, are taking part.
Here is a translation of the text of the Holy Father Francis’ Video-Message sent to the participants in the Meeting.
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The Holy Father’s Video-Message
Dear young people:
At the end of the World Youth Day in Krakow, in July of 2016, I said to the young volunteers: “We assume the memory of our past to build hope with courage.” And this is the motto that you chose for this World Meeting of Indigenous Youth, which has gathered you from January 17-21 of this year (Pre-Day of the WYD) in Soloy, Municipality of Ngabe-Bugle, Diocese of David, Panama.
I congratulate you because it’s the first time that a Pre-WYD Day is organized, specifically for young people of indigenous nations, of native peoples, at the world level. It’s an initiative for which I want to thank the Indigenous Pastoral Section of the Episcopal Conference of Panama, supported by CELAM.
Dear young people, I invite you to make this Meeting — which gathers hundreds of young people of different native peoples –, serve to reflect and celebrate their faith in Jesus Christ from the age-old richness of their native cultures. I exhort you to make it an opportunity to respond to the invitation, made to youth in other moments, to be grateful for the history of their peoples and courageous in face of the challenges that surround them, to go on full of hope in building another possible world. To return to the native cultures. To take charge of the roots, because from the roots comes the strength that will make you grow, flower and fructify. Moreover, it must be a way to show the indigenous face of our Church in the WYD environment, to affirm our commitment to protect our Common Home and to collaborate in the building of another possible world, more equitable and more human.
Without a doubt, the themes that, according to the agenda, will be the object of your reflection, will stimulate the search for answers, from the evangelical perspective, to the many and very scandalous situations of marginalization, exclusion, rejection and impoverishment to which millions of young people are condemned, especially young people of native nations in the world. May your action, the awareness of belonging to your peoples, be a reaction against this throwaway culture, against that culture of forgetfulness of the roots, projected towards an ever more liquid, more gaseous future, without foundation.
Boys and girls, take charge of your cultures! Take charge of your roots! But don’t stay there. Grow, flower and fructify from those roots. A poet said that “all that a tree has flowering, comes from what is underground” — the roots, but roots leading to the future, projected to the future. This is your challenge today.
It will be a joy for me to meet you in Panama. And while waiting for that moment, I wish you the best successes in the Meeting and I give you my Blessing.
May God bless you![Original text: Spanish] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]