PANAMA will be the next host of World Youth Day (WYD)”in 2019.
The widely anticipated announcement came from Pope Francis minutes before the end of this year’s celebration in Krakow, Poland and the 1,500 strong Panamanian delegation erupted in glee.
It is the first time that Central America will be the host of the Catholic event.
Brazil hosted the WYD in 2013 in Rio de Janeiro in which about 3.7 million people participated.
It is considered the second most massive WYD in history after the event in Manila, Philippines, drew 5 million people.
In 1987, the Buenos Aires, Argentina, also hosted the activity.
WYD in several respects transcends its religious significance. The global importance of World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro was reflected, among other features by the appearance this year, for the second time, of the image of Francisco on the cover of the international edition of Time magazine under the title “The People’s Pope.”
World Youth Day was created in 1984, when after the conclusion of the Holy Year of Redemption, John Paul II delivered a wooden cross four meters high to youth inviting them to take it worldwide.
Since it has been held in Rome (1985), Buenos Aires (1987), Santiago de Compostela (Spain) in 1989; Czestochowa (Poland) in 1991; Denver (Colorado, (USA) in 1993; Manila in 1995, Paris in 1997; Rome again during the Jubilee 2000, and Toronto (Canada) in 2002.
It was held In Cologne (Germany) in 2005 in Sydney (Australia) in 2008; in Madrid (Spain) in 2011, in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in 2013 and in Krakow (Poland) 2016.
It is a form of redemption For President Juan Carlos Varela who with his wife has been widely lampooned for his seeming obsession with chasing the Pope. But, if the event is held after July 1 2019 Varela will miss out as greeter in chief as his successor will be in office.
Concerns have also been raised over the country’s ability to provide enough buses to transport the hundreds of thousands of visitors during the event. It is a challenge that the Tourism Authority, with declining visitors, looks forward to meeting