Young people from Panama visit Pope Francis while they prepare for World Youth Day

These teenage girls are from a school in Panama that has safeguarded a gift from Pope Francis for the young people in the country.

This gift is the “Pilgrim Cross,” which travels around the world to churches and institutions to prepare for the next World Youth Day. Now, it is in Panama.

They are especially happy because they were able to meet the pope, but regret they weren’t able to give him their personal gift.

“We wanted to go to the papal audience to receive a blessing and we also had a gift for Pope Francis. However, for one reason or another, weren’t able to give it to him. Even still, we are very happy to have been in the audience.”


After the “Pilgrim Cross” came to their school, they prepared this book for the pope with their impressions and dreams in anticipation for World Youth Day.

“It’s basically a letter where we express our feelings, telling him everything that we feel.”

“We also made a book because the ‘Pilgrim Cross’ arrived in Panama for World Youth Day and came to our school. It was that much more special because this year marks the 70th anniversary of our school’s establishment.”

After hearing the pope’s catechesis, they felt that Pope Francis was speaking directly to them. Now, they are returning to Panama with their minds set on never giving up, no matter what problem they may face.

“The pope said a lot, like we must follow our dreams. I think that’s one of the main messages he wanted to send to us today; always continue moving forward and never give up under any circumstance.”

“Mainly, also, because we are young. We must face our future with dreams and never stop overcoming whatever obstacles we face in life. Always be faithful to God, and faithful to the end, just like our school’s slogan says.”

With the memories of their encounter with Pope Francis engrained in their mind, they say goodbye to Rome. However, they hold their excitment of once again seeing the pope in their country at the next World Youth Day in January 2019. It is a date none of them want to miss.

WYD Minute – Episode 1 – August 2017

Welcome! The first episode of the brand new #WYDMinute season. An online show to share latest news and activities in preparation for World Youth Day Panama 2019. Available in 5 languages: Spanish, English, French, Italian and Portuguese. Share it on your social media! #Panama2019

Cinta Costera: Panama’s WYD headquarters in 2019

This is where most of the events of WYD in Panama 2019 will be held. It is called the Cinta Costera Uno.

All of the world’s Episcopal Conferences were in agreement that the Cinta Costera would be the best option.


Local Organizing Committee, WYD Panama 2019
“The big events, where the largest number of people are, are the main acts with the Holy Father. These are the events that will take place on the Cinta Costera.”

They have the approval of the Vatican’s Gendarmerie, whose specialists considered it suitable to guarantee Pope Francis’ security.

Head of Planning – National Police (Panama)
“At the moment, we can assure that all security sectors are available to make World Youth Day a success in terms of administration, security and emergency matters.”

WYD will be held from January 22 to 27, 2019, and over 375,000 pilgrims are expected to attend, both national and international.

Panama’s WYD Already Has Its Own Official Website

Each World Youth Day always brings millions of people from around the world together. It is a trip that requires much preparation, and that is exactly why the next WYD, to be hosted in Panama in 2019, already launched its own official website.

The countdown begins.

The website is available in Spanish, English, French, Italian and Portuguese. In addition to fun facts and information on WYD and its locations, a message from Pope Francis also appears on the website.

“These moments of encounter and dialogue with you are very important for me, and I wanted this itinerary to be done in tune with the preparation of the next Synod of Bishops that is dedicated to you.”

Also appearing on the website is Ambar Calvo, the young Panamanian girl who designed 2019’s WYD logo.

“I had a very clear concept. The shape of the logo is very much related to the “M” of Mary, but now it forms a heart that expresses all the love that can be felt in Mary during World Youth Day and in our Catholic faith.”

Though there is still a year and a half until the next WYD, its detailed preparation is already evident, and for any important event, any preparation is short.