The next World Youth Day will take place from January 22-27, 2019 and will draw pilgrims as young as 15 to Panama City, Panama for a week-long pilgrimage that will include everything from catechetical sessions, Mass, and reconciliation to shows, music and a visit from Pope Francis. For some participants, this will be their first pilgrimage which is why it’s so important to remind youth that this is not just a trip abroad - it's a spiritual event that requires spiritual preparation.
“ . . .[I]t is important to spiritually prepare, so that your heart and mind will be open for God’s purpose in your life during this week-long pilgrimage,” the official website advises. “Prayer is essential to the pilgrimage experience.”
For this reason, youth are being challenged to take 15 minutes out of their day to recite and meditate on the official prayer for World Youth Day 2019 (see below). They’re being asked to pray for whatever personal challenges they may be bringing with them, but also to pray for safe travels for the thousands of pilgrims who will be traveling to Panama that week.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has constructed a page full of resources youth can use to spiritually prepare themselves for the journey they will soon be undertaking.
One resource lists 10 ways to prepare. Prayer is the number one item on the list, but it also includes practical advice such as not to over pack, to bring good walking shoes, learn about the country of Panama and maybe even a few Spanish phrases, and to anticipate the simple way of life they will experience at the event by fasting from food, material goods, and other excesses.
The U.S. Bishops have also provided a special prayer for World Youth Day Prayer for the United States USA pilgrims as a way “to united and connect” all pilgrims from the United States, including those who will celebrate stateside in their parish communities. Youth are being asked to pray for this intention alongside the official worldwide prayer.
WYD Panama 2019 has also named eight great heroes of the Church to intercede for pilgrims and their needs: Saint Jose Sanchez del Rio, Saint Juan Diego, Blessed Sor Maria Romero Meneses, Saint John Bosco, Saint John Paul II, Saint Oscar Arnuflo Romero, Saint Martin de Porres, and Saint Rose of Lima.
Whether you are planning to attend World Youth Day or not, let us all join in praying for this blessed event!
WYD Panamá Pilgrim Prayer
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 bishops; for priests and deacons; for those in consecrated life and for volunteers; for young people and all who will participate in the upcoming World Youth Day in Panamá, and for those who are preparing to receive 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.
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