Starts World Youth Day in Panama

By Elida Moreno
Thousands of young people, from over 150 countries attended the opening Mass of World Youth Day (JMJ) which is done in Panama 22 al 27 from January, presided over by Pope Francisco.

The ceremony took place at the Campo Santa Maria la Antigua, located in the coastal strip, an extensive tourist strip in front of the Bay of Panama. Young arrived early on Tuesday, dressed in distinctive in their countries and flags flew for several hours while singing Christian hymns.

Photo: JMJ Panamá.

WYD is relevant to all of Central America because of its proximity between countries, and convulsive time living in Central America, that is affected by an increase in violence, political problems and the migratory crisis that triggered caravans of migrants to the United States with direct impact on youth.

Archbishop of Panama, José Domingo Ulloa stressed the importance of the meeting and leadership assumed by young people to overcome the obstacles they faced to attend the meeting.

You have the face of all the difficulties known to jump the obstacles and wanted to gather in this small town, in this small church, we can say that today becomes the capital of youth ... ", Catholic prelate told the young.

And he added: "Youth talk is talk of hope because only the change in the world, and the church is in the hands of you ".

Photo: JMJ Panamá.

This is a global meeting, the most important carried out by the Catholic Church. Prior to this event, Young assessed the situation of indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants, They are representing a large majority of the population of the American continent and still living situation of exclusion and discrimination, said Archbishop Ulloa.

According to the organizing committee, more of 100.000 pilgrims of 156 countries have registered to participate in WYD, and ones 480 bishops.

Photo: JMJ Panamá.

Some 2.500 journalists are accredited to cover the meeting, which has the support of 20.000 Panamanian volunteers and 2.445 international.

Countries with the highest international volunteer representatives are Colombia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico and Poland.