As a gift in honor of Pope Francis’ visit to the Youth Custody Center of Pacora on Friday, January 25, a group of four young people between 17-25 years of age there, have made the gift of a crozier for the Pontiff.
The youths were able to make this piece thanks to the skills acquired in one of the re-socialization programs offered in this Center. Pope Francis will go to the youths’ Center to celebrate a penitential liturgy and hear the Confessions of some of the young people. They are optimistic and happy that the Holy Father will come to see them, and they demonstrate it by their dedication to this woodwork project, one of the many initiatives they are preparing for this special visit.
The crozier is a staff that represents a Bishop’s pastoral office and is a symbol of ecclesiastical guidance, which is carried by Cardinals in all liturgical ceremonies over which they preside.
The crozier made by the Pacora inmates has four 18-inch sections. Craftsman Ubaldino Batista of the Monagrillo community, province of Herrera, did the carving at the top. It includes the logo of the WYD Panama 2019 and, on the reverse side, a chain broken in half by Jesus’ cross, symbolizing the change these youths have experienced on coming to know the faith.
Father Domingo Escobar, parish priest of the church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel of Juan Diaz and Santa Maria del Camino in Ciudad Real, supervised the making of this item, which represents the Catholic Church, and assures that the youths have had a personal encounter with the Lord, which has enabled them to set new goals for themselves.
This is not the first time the Successor of Peter meets with young people in a juvenile detention center. He considers this group as one of the existential fringes that must be attended to with mercy.
The young people are grateful for being regarded as another group of pilgrims, and say they are preparing themselves to show their rehabilitation to the Pope, ready to end their sentence and to contribute positively to society.