POPE FRANCIS’ANGELUS , editorial team •
Pope Francis opened the registration for JMJ Panamá 2019. At that moment Ricardo “Riki” Villalba, a member of the Schoenstatt Boys’ Youth from Paraguay was beside the Pope with Tablet in hand, literally his “right hand”: he has been living in Rome for almost a year as a missionary within the context of project “Misión Roma” (“Mission Rome”), an initiative of support for the growth of the Schoenstatt Youth in Rome. Tablet in hand and with a smile brimming with happiness, clicking (three times) he showed the Pope becoming the first pilgrim to register.
Thousands of people were witnesses in St. Peter’s Square via Television and Internet. After praying the Angelus on Sunday, 11 February, and with the help of two young people, the Holy Father registered directly through the internet for the World Youth Day that will be held in Panama in January 2019, with the motto: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk: 1, 38)
“Today they opened the registration for the World Youth Day, which will take place in Panama in January 2019”, he said. “I registered here as a pilgrim”. He invited all the young people of the world to live this event of grace and fraternity with enthusiasm, to go to Panama and participate in their own community.
In the first testimony Riki commented that the encounter with the Holy Father was very warm and spontaneous, the Pope asked him where he was from and he showed him the Tablet and how to register.
The organizers of World Youth Day in Panama published a screen shot of the Pope’s registration on their twitter account (@jmj.es), he completed the headings: Name of group: “Youths from all the world”; Nation: “International”; Name of organizer: “Pope Francis”. “Dear Pope Francis, thank you for opening the registration”, it can be read followed by a message indicating that the first participant had registered.
Mary has a message for all the youths of the world
When the news was known in Panama, the Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, president of the Local Organizational Committee, pointed out: “I woke to the great surprise that the first pilgrim, Pope Francis, had registered (…). We are pleasantly surprised”.
“We are grateful for Pope Francis’ gesture precisely today, when we are celebrating Our Lady of Lourdes. The reading I make of this coincidence our Holy Father gives us is that Mary has a message for all the youths of the world, and that they not to be afraid”, the Archbishop added.
After the tests that still had to be done on the platform, the registration of the pilgrims of the world opened on Monday, 12 February at 8:00 am (Panama time), Víctor Chang, Executive Secretary of COL informed accordingly.
Detailed instructions for the process of registration can be found in five official languages.
We are in contact with Ricardo and with our collaborators in Rome, Pamela Fabiano and Federico Bauml, who already sent a detailed testimony of the moment (to be translated into English asap).
Video of the moment:
Grant us the grace of being a Church that goes forth with vibrant faith and a youthful face to communicate the joy of the Gospel.
The official page of the WYD 2019 reads: “Pope Francis’ registration for World Youth Day Panama 2019, should invite us for a more intense preparation, to go on pilgrimage with our Most Holy Mother, and with our brothers, who will accompany us. We carry our motto marked on our heart. “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk: 1, 38)
Prayer of WYD of Panama
Merciful Father, You call us to live our lives as a way of salvation. Help us to recall the past with gratitude, to embrace the present with courage and to build the future with hope. Lord Jesus, our friend and brother, thank you for looking upon us with love. Let us listen to your voice as it resonates in the hearts of each one with the strength and light of the Holy Spirit. Grant us the grace of being a Church that goes forth with vibrant faith and a youthful face to communicate the joy of the Gospel. May we help to build up the kind of society we long for, one where there is fairness and fellowship.
We pray for the Pope and the bishops; for young people; for all those who will take part in World Youth Day in Panama and for those who are preparing to welcome them. Our Lady of Antigua, Patroness of Panama, help us to pray and live with generosity like yours: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). Amen.
Original: Spanish. 12 February 2018. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA