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WYD – A Celebration of Faith

Preparations are underway for the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day (WYD) that takes centre stage in Panama City, January 22-27 2019.  Pope Francis will join the celebrations from January 23 onwards.

The World Youth Day (WYD) is a worldwide encounter with the Pope, which takes plece every three years in a different country. The previous WYD was in Krakow, Poland from July 26th to 31st, 2016.  The event is an opportunity for all young people to take part in a festive encounter with their contemporaries,that is centred on Jesus Christ. It is an opportunity to experience at first hand:

  • the universality of the Church;
  • to share with the whole world the hope of many young people who want to commit themselves to Christ and others, and
  • is a unique way to deepen one’s faith and grow closer to Christ, by means of prayer and the sacraments, and
  • the opportunity to come together with thousands of other young people who share common interests and ambitions.

Those involved in the organisation of this  event  say it will be “a great celebration of faith”.   Everyone is waiting for the Pope and for the hope he will bring for all of Central America.

The themes for the event

As a result of  the October 2018 Synod of Bishops on Young People which took place  in the Vatican, Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa of Panama said that young people are urged to be the protagonists of change, and to build a different world as Mary did, with her unconditional “yes”.

The theme of the 34th WYD is, “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38).

In his address, to all the young people of the world  (believers and non-believers) in preparation for this WYD,  Pope Francis encouraged them to discover the characteristic values of youth.  In dong so he recognised their willingness to serve others, and invited them to put this attitude into practice from a Christian perspective:

“To be at the service of others does not only mean to be ready for action. It means also to be in conversation with God with an attitude of listening, just like Mary. She listened to what the angel said to her and then she responded”.

Other themes that will dominate the youth meeting will be Migration, Indigenous People, Environment and the Role of Women.

Some Facts and figures

More than 200,000 participants from 155 countries are expected to arrive in Panama, alongside an estimated 37,000 volunteers from Brazil, Costa Rica, France and Poland who are involved in logistics, assistance and preparation.  Let us pray for all of those making the journey,  and those involved in every aspect of the preparations for this wonderful ‘celebration of Faith’.   Let us remember especially all of the young people from all over the world who will be present in Panama during these days and all of those who will follow the events on social media.

(Official Prayer for WYD Panamá 2019)

Merciful Father,
You call us to live our lives as a way of salvation.
Help us to recall the past with gratitude,
to embrace the present with courage
and to build the future with hope.

Lord Jesus, our friend and brother,
thank you for looking upon us with love.
Let us listen to your voice as it resonates in the hearts of each one
with the strength and light of the Holy Spirit.

Grant us the grace of being a Church that goes forth with vibrant faith
and a youthful face to communicate the joy of the Gospel.
May we help to build up the kind of society we long for,
one where there is fairness and fellowship.

We pray for the Pope and the bishops;
for young people;
for all those who will take part in World Youth Day in Panama
and for those who are preparing to welcome them.

Our Lady of Antigua, Patroness of Panama,
help us to pray and live with generosity like yours:
“I am the servant of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).





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