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WYD – What’s at stake for our confreres

Our confreres and the people they serve in Panama are not only preparing to celebrate the birth of Christ. They are also fully engaged in the last minute preparations for World Youth Day 2019. The event with global significance will begin January 22 and conclude January 27. It will be preceded by a historic meeting of indigenous youth January 17-21. The Eastern Province’s Joe Fitzgerald, CM is playing a leading role.

Fr. Joe Fitzgerald, CM and Panamanian Youth

A recent article in CRUX points out the significance this day.

Immigration, the environment and the role of women in the Catholic Church will be “central themes” at the 2019 World Youth Day, set to take place next month in Panama, which will be a primary testing ground for the principles laid out at the October summit of bishops on young people.

Background

For a relatively small country, hosting poses its challenges. Just look at the numbers.

Over 47,000 young people from 155 countries have already registered to attend the event organizers said, and 168,000 are completing the application process. To this number add the 37,000 volunteers who have already signed up to help during the events. They come from all over the world, including Colombia, Brazil, France, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Poland.

There will be a significant variety of young people at the event with 243 coming from China and 450 from Cuba. Muslims will also be in attendance, hailing from Jordan and Palestine.

About 1,000 young people from indigenous populations are set to attend World Youth Day. This is of special significance for Fr. Joe Fitzgerald given the fact that he is the lead organizer.

Perspectives of Panama’s Archbishop Ulloa

Panama’s Archbishop Ulloa suggests this an opportunity to begin addressing the topics that will unfold in the 2019 Synod of Bishops on the Pan-Amazonian region, at the forefront of the battle against climate change.

Not surprisingly he says beyond focusing on young people World Youth Day will place a special emphasis on Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si, and the doctrine of the Church.

Nor will the political tensions that are unfolding in Latin American countries, especially Nicaragua and Venezuela, be forgotten. Francis will meet with the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM) during his visit to Panama for the event as well as several representatives of South American states who have been

Finally, “the South American Church is a martyred Church,” the archbishop said, counting among them the now-Saint Oscar Romero and the many who died “to transform this region.” “These are necessary models for young people, whom they can imitate and follow now, not tomorrow,” he added.

Our prayers are with all the participants and those who have worked so hard to bring this to life.n May all these efforts bring forth much fruit.