Panama: Holy Mass with 700,000 young participants ended the 34th World Youth Day.

Holy Father Francis celebrated a Holy Mass this morning for 700,000 young people from 156 countries from around the world. The Mass ended the 34th World Youth Day.

“You are not the future, you are not in the” meanwhile” period, but you are the God’s “now “- he said.  He emphasized that the Gospel should express in the life of every Christian in a” concrete love of self-giving. “At the end it was announced that WYD in 2022 will be held in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal.

At first, the Pope went in the papamobile through the sectors of the St. John Paul II filed in Panama. All participants enthusiastically greeted him while the Latino rhythms were played and flags of 156 countries fluttered above their heads.  Among the gathered, there were 3.8 thousand pilgrims from Poland together with Agata Kornhauser-Duda, wife of the president of the Republic of Poland, 12 bishops and over 200 priests.

The Archbishop of Panama, José Ulloa Mendieta, welcoming the Pope, assured that “the experience of the ecclesial community and the spiritual and pastoral renewal we have lived with the Successor of Christ will remain in everyone’s life forever.” He added that “the richness of faith, experienced in joy and hope by so many young people, tells us that there is hope that we can transform our dreams and longings into reality.” In the name of the Panamanians, he thanked the Pope for allowing them to prepare and celebrate the World Youth Day, in the Marian spirit, in the Latin American and Caribbean style, with a place for prayer, formation, renewal and pastoral conversion.

In the homily, Pope Francis emphasized that “Jesus reveals the present moment of God who comes to call us to take part in his now, to “preach the Good News to the poor “,” freedom to the prisoners”, and “the ability to see to the blinds” to “make free all those who are enslaved” and “to proclaim a year of graces from the Lord »(Lk 4, 18-19).”

Pope Francis strongly encouraged young people to “discover the mission entrusted to them and fall in love with it”. He appealed to them to feel called right now, without a need to wait for the ideal conditions. He warned against the temptation of “creating a distance in relation to God” and treating the mission and calling it as something for the future, not in the present. He explained that youth cannot be “synonymous with waiting rooms waiting for their time”. Otherwise young dreams will lose their force; they will fall asleep and become mundane, sleepy, mediocre fictions.

And as a role model he pointed to Mary. “Throughout all these days accompanied us, like background music, words of Mary:” Let it be done to me! “She not only believed in God and promises as something possible, but she believed God and dared to say” yes “, to participate in the Lord’s “now”. “She felt that she had a mission, she had affection, and it affected all decisions” – the Pope stressed. “Do you want to live the validity of His love? – asked Pope Francis at the end of the homily, asking that “yours “yes” is the entrance gate” so that “the Holy Spirit would give a new Pentecost for the world and for the Church”.

The prayers of the faithful were read in English for the evangelizing work of the Church so that all humanity would know the Gospel; in French, for the pope and bishops, that God would strengthen them in authentic faith, in hope without fear and in heroic love; in Portuguese, that the Father and the Lord of history should direct the intentions and deeds of the rulers so that they engage in behalf of the nations entrusted to them and support the true dignity of every human person; in Italian, for priestly and religious vocations, so that young people would sacrifice their lives for the sanctification of brothers and in Spanish for those who suffer, for the poor and for the lonely, that we would learn to be brothers for all those we meet.

“For so many young people who are here today, in front of You, Holy Father and for the more numerous ones who have accompanied us on these days through the media, WYD was an experience of transformation in which they experienced the beautiful beauty of the Lord’s face and made important choices in their life “- pointed out Cardinal Kevin Farrell, prefect of the Department for the Laity, Family and Life, at the end of the Eucharist.

He pointed out that the most important fruits of these experiences will be visible later in everyday life. The same young people who said, “I am here”, will say in their ecclesial communities: “We are servants of the Lord” and open to God’s call for each of them and they will be ready to say in accordance to Mary’s: “Let it be to me according to your word.” Card. Farrel also announced that Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, will be the site of the World Youth Day in 2022.  The announcement was welcomed by all those gathered.

At the end of the Mass Pope Francis appealed to the young people again: “Go on, live by faith and share it”. “I am asking you not to let down what you have experienced these days. Return to your parishes and communities, your families and friends, and share this experience so that others can vibrate with the strength and joy you have. Together with Mary, always say “yes” to the dream God has sown in you” appealed Francis.

In the Holy Mass on the St. John Paul II’s fields (Campo San Juan Pablo II) in Metro Park, in addition to over 700,000 young people from 156 countries around the world were present, among others : President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, Costa Rica, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, Colombian, Iván Duque Marquez with his wife Maria Julia Ruiz, Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, Guatemala, Jimmy Morales Cabrera with his wife Hilda Patricia Marroquin, El Salvador, Salvador Sánchez Cerén and Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

Among the concelebrants was also the Patriarch of Lisbon, Cardinal Manuel Clemente and other Portuguese bishops who were happy to receive the news that WYD in 2022 would be held in Lisbon.