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Pope Leaves For Panama

Pope Francis leaves for Panama

What is World Youth Day?

World Youth Day (WYD) is an encounter of young people from around the world with the Pope, typically celebrated every three years. The event allows young people to experience the universality of the Church and to share their faith in Jesus Christ.

In 1984 at the close of the Holy Year of Redemption, over 300,000 young people from around the world responded to the invitation of His Holiness John Paul II for an International Jubilee of youth on Palm Sunday in St. Peter’s square. Looking out to the crowds who answered his invitation he said, “What a fantastic spectacle is presented on this stage by your gathering here today! Who claimed that today’s youth has lost their sense of values? Is it really true that they cannot be counted on?” It was at this gathering that the Holy Father entrusted to the youth what is now known as the World Youth Day Cross, to be carried throughout the world as a symbol of the love of Christ for humanity.


There have been 12 International World Youth Day celebrations, where the youth continue to answer the invitation of the Holy Father to carry home the message received there to be Christ’s light to the world. While these events are organized by the clergy and laity of the Catholic Church, youth of all faiths are invited to attend and encounter Christ, making this gathering truly universal.

Attendance at this event has been truly staggering, the following table of recent years gives the Year, Location and Attendance (approximate)

2000 Rome 2,000,000
2002 Toronto 800,000
2005 Cologne 1,200,000
2008 Sydney 400,000
2011 Madrid 1,800,000
2013 Rio de Janiero 3,700,000
2016 Kracow 3,500,000


The next World Youth Day will be in  Panama  22 - 27 January 2019. This massive youth rally, which always has the Pope as its VIP guest, will take place in Panama City during its local summer.

The theme for World Youth Day, 2019 is, “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38). 

Explaining the date, which may make it difficult for North Americans and Europeans to participate because of school schedules, Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa of Panama City said that the weather - in particular, avoiding the country’s heavy rainy season - prevailed in the choice.




Wednesday, 23 January 2019


9:35Departure by air from Rome/Fiumicino for Panama

16:30Arrival at Tocumen International Airport in Panama

 Official welcome

16:50Transfer to the Apostolic Nunciature


Thursday, 24 January 2019


9:45Welcome ceremony at the main entrance of Palacio de las Garzas – Presidency of the Republic

 Courtesy visit to the President of the Republic in Palacio de las Garzas – Presidency of the Republic

10:40Meeting with the Authorities, with the Diplomatic Corps and with Representatives of Society in Palacio Bolivar– Ministry of Foreign Affairs

11:15Meeting with central american Bishops in the Church of San Francisco de Asis

17:30Welcome ceremony and opening of WYD at Campo Santa Maria la Antigua – Cinta Costera


Friday, 25 January 2019


10:30Penitential liturgy with young detainees in the Centro de Cumplimiento de Menores Las Garzas de Pacora

11:50Transfer by helicopter to the Apostolic Nunciature

17:30Via Crucis with young people at Campo Santa Maria la Antigua – Cinta Costera


Saturday, 26 January 2019


9:15Holy Mass with the dedication of the altar of the Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria la Antigua with priests, consecrated persons and lay movements

12:15Lunch with young people in the San José Major Seminary

18:30Vigil with young people at Campo San Juan Pablo II – Metro Park


Sunday, 27 January 2019


8:00Holy Mass for World Youth Day at Campo San Juan Pablo II – Metro Park

10:45Visit to the Casa Hogar del Buen Samaritano


16:30Meeting with the WYD volunteers in the Rommel Fernandez Stadium

18:00Farewell ceremony at Panama International Airport

18:15Departure by air for Rome


Monday, 28 January 2019


11:50Arrival at Rome-Ciampino International Airport


Time Zones 

Rome + 1 Hour

Panama - 6 Hours