“Happy and eager” were the young Chilean pilgrims during the flight — for many of them, the first in their life — to Panama, where they will take part in the World Youth Day (WYD) from January 22-27, 2019, along with young people from all over the world.
The first two groups of Chilean pilgrims traveled last January 9, 2019, from the parish of Saint Barbara (7), in the Eighth Region, and from Saint Stephen’s parish in Puente Alto (18). On that day, a total of 50 pilgrims arrived in Panama, many of them privately.
To date, 30 pilgrims have been added to them and in the end, some 1,000 Chileans will take part in the 2019 WYD.
Father Ricardo Acosta, parish priest of Puente Alto, explained how he was able to finance the registration and air tickets for the whole group. During the year, they carried out a number of activities to cover the costs of seven young people who could not have traveled. One of them, Rodrigo Reyes, said that they often felt there would be no “opportunity” for them to travel and were somewhat dejected, but then “the funds would arrive. God took care of it,” reads the Webpage of the Chilean Episcopal Conference.
“It’s been a lovely experience to arrive here. It has also been intense, given that to find the resources to go to Panama meant leaving much work in the parish, and that implies sacrifice. In any event, we are eager and look forward to living a new experience in Panama,” said Rodrigo.
Diocese of Colon — Kuna Yala
The Chilean pilgrims began their trip on January 9 to the Diocese of Colon — Kuna Yala, 50 kilometers from Panama City. It’s the Atlantic entrance to the Canal and is 50 minutes from Panama City. The Diocese will welcome 15,000 pilgrims.
While there, the Chilean young people will hold a missionary week from January 15-21, days in which they will engage in social works and evangelization, before the great Day, which begins on Monday, January 22.
They are staying in private homes and parishes in both cities, from which they will go by bus to the different events listed on the official program.
The “Sending” Mass
A total of 400 young people from Santiago de Chile took part in the “Sending Mass” on Saturday, January 5, 2019, before going to Panama’s WYD. The Mass was held in the Metropolitan Cathedral and celebrated by Monsignor Cristian Roncagliolo, Vicar General of Santiago and Vicar of Esperanza Joven.
It’s a traditional celebration that is held weeks before pilgrims begin their journey, on this occasion though Central America, to meet with Pope Francis and young people from all over the world.
Encounter with Christ
Monsignor Cristian Roncagliolo encouraged the pilgrims to prepare themselves with energy and hope. “We are going to the WYD to encounter Christ and the culmination of that encounter with Christ is that Pope Francis confirm us in the faith and that he confirm us in what sustains us in our life, who believe in Jesus Christ who died for us.”
He also mentioned events the young people will attend in Panama, such as the missionary week, catecheses and prayer. “Not only is the faith transmitted, but it is learnt and the catecheses are not accidental; they are an opportunity to learn. We will have a Prayer Vigil, daily Masses and the culmination — the meeting with the Pope.”
Young People from the Whole World
At the end of his exhortation, Monsignor Roncagliolo invited to be witnesses of the first source of the encounter with God and with young people from the whole world in a true “entertainment of the faith.” “They are going to meet with pilgrims from Vietnam, from China, from the United States, from Colombia — with young people from all parts of the world to learn to see the richness of the Church’s diversity, because in that diversity is the unity that Christ alone can give us.”
The World Youth Day can be followed on:
www.jmjpanama2019.cl and on the social networks with the hash tag ChilenosJMJ and on Instagram @pjchile and @iglesiadesantiago