Panama to host Pope’s World Youth Day

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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.

pope 1“With joy I announce that the next World Youth Day  will be in 2019 in Panama, “said the Argentine pontiff after praying the Angelus before more than one million people.

Panamenos-Cracovia-celebran-anuncio-Francisco_LPRVID20160731_0003_34The hundreds of young Panamanians who occupied the front rows of the Campus of Mercy on the outskirts of Krakow during the closing Mass burst into cheers.

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.

The carrying of the cross is a central theme at WYD

The carrying of the cross is a central theme at WYD

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.

REDEMPTION
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

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