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ZENIT Interview with Bishop Manuel Ochogavia Barahona of Panama

Important to Give Continuity to Young Peoples’ Motivation after World Youth Day

“The World Youth Day (WYD) is a specific event. What is going to make us work afterward is what is really going to call for a great effort on our part, of course in Panama and also in Latin America,” said Bishop Manuel Ochogavia Barahona of Colon-Kauna Yala in Panama, and participant Father in the Synod of Bishops.

The Panamanian Bishop took part in today’s midday briefing, in the Holy See Press Office, on the 4th General Congregation of the 15th Ordinary Assembly of the Synod, held on Friday morning, October 5, 2018. World Youth Day 2019 will run from January 22-27, 2019, in Panama, and Pope Francis has confirmed his participation.

“Many young people have joined the Church to prepare the WYD. I think the WYD is going to generate, first, great motivation in young people. Many young people who up to now had not joined or weren’t taking part, are doing so now in Panama, said the Panamanian Synodal Father to ZENIT.

This has also generated for us, “work to be able to give continuity after the WYD,” in terms of “areas, times, activities, programs, care itineraries, which for us is incredible work that has befallen us,” he said.

“This Synod is important for us in Panama; we are preparing for the WYD which will determine a lot what the situation will be like with young people in Panama,” continued Bishop Ochogavia.

Therefore, the Bishop of Colon said they “hope to reap many fruits from meetings such as this one, which teaches us “how we can accompany and help young people.”

Bishop Ochogavia believes that “new dialogues and new ways of encounter” must be generated with young people. It’s a “preferential option for young people,” so that that occasion of conversion, of empathy, of compassion will take place. “We have to feel with young people, understand them,” he added.

It’s a process of accompaniment that enables one to “recognize the reality” of what is going on with young people.

The Bishop warned that young people can’t be left in just anyone’s hands; “we can’t allow their continued manipulation; we must seek to have them grow free,” he concluded.

About Rosa Die Alcolea

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