WYD 2019/Bolivia, Fr. Cristóbal Asenjo M. and Roberto Henestrosa •
On Tuesday, December 11th, we met at the Santa Cruz de la Sierra wayside shrine with a group of young men and women that will be participating in the next World Youth Day (WYD) in Panama, and prior to that, at the 2019 Ignis (Young Men’s Group) and Hinéni (Young Women’s Group) gatherings to be held in Costa Rica. We also had the participation of a young man from the La Paz Young Men’s Group, who also joined this gathering. —
The purpose of this gathering was to begin preparing our pilgrims’ hearts by learning a little more about the history of World Youth Day. We covered its development over the years, and we saw that they have been a tremendous opportunity for evangelization for the Church to listen to and to train its young men and women.
Living Schoenstatt and the Church’s internationality
Regarding the Schoenstatt youths’ gathering in Costa Rica, we could talk about the purpose and the importance of discovering how our charism unites and challenges us. Despite the cultural or language differences, it invites us to live in a similar Covenant spirituality.
Behold the handmaid of the Lord…
The guiding thread for the entire gathering was the Gospel passage inspiring WYD 2019— the Annunciation (Lk 1: 26-38)— that helped us to reflect as a community and personally about the attitude that each one approaches this worldwide gathering with young people from different latitudes who want to tell God the Father: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38)
Do you want to go to World Youth Day?
Motivated by the experience of these young men, Roberto Henestrosa told us: On an afternoon in Brazil shortly before World Youth Day of 2013, I went to visit my grandmother. She was 95 years old; lucid, but her body was afflicted by time, and she said to me: “How beautiful! It is Pope Francis’ first trip; do you want to go? I will help you with something.” My response was: “Grandma, I am 37 years old. I can’t go.”
Today I understand the innocence with which she spoke to me. At her age, she wanted to go, but having me there was a little like her being there, gathered with the Holy Father and receiving his message of hope.
Today a group of youths from Bolivia will go to Panama, and we will go with them. I am overwhelmed with emotion, because someone, who made a great-grandmother out of her for the first time, is going, and now, she, who is already in the Father’s house, will accompany him at this new gathering.
Original: Spanish. 16 December 2018. Translation: Celina M. Garza, San Antonio, TX USA. Edited: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA