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Pilgrim Cross tours Panama in build up for WYD


THE PILGRIM Cross, which has circled the world to appear at celebrations of World Youth Day (WYD) is making its way across Panama along with the icon of the Virgin Mary.

It arrived in Panama in May and through the rest of July will be displayed  in different parishes across  Panama City., both symbols of the World Youth Day, will be visiting different points of the city during the rest of Jul as part of the promotion of World Youth Day in January 2019  Entrance to the promotional  events will be open to the public.

World Youth Day, which will run from Jan 22 -27  2019 and will be attended by Pope Francis is expected to attract 375,000 pilgrims to the city said Archbishop Domingo Ulloa on Thursday, July 20.



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Panama promoting 2019 WYD at German fair

Casco Viejo a prime tourist destination
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PANAMA   will be a guest of honor at the fiftieth edition of the international tourism trade fair in Stuttgart (Germany),  January 13 to 21.

It is the country’s first appearance at the event and promotion of the World Youth Day (WYD) to be held in January. 2019will  be a major focus.

Archbishop, José Domingo Ulloa, will highlight in a speech the benefits of the Catholic activity. that is expected to bring together about a million people from around the world.

During the nine days of the fair, the  Tourism Authority, ATP will promote Panama vacation activities and locations including fishing, golf, mountains, islands, beaches, historical sites and hiking, among others.

it is estimated that more than 15,000  people will attend the fair with about 100  travel representations from Argentina, Brazil, China, Spain, the United States, Greece, India, Italy, Kenya, Peru, Poland and Portugal.

The Stuttgart event is one of the most important fairs in Europe focused on selling popular vacation destinations and known as a point of reference for promoting leisure and adventure tourism.



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Packages to Panama WYD from $95-$230

Pope Francis at the last WYD in Poland
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“Packages” for pilgrims to  World Youth Day (WYD)  to be held in Panama in January 2019  and attended by Pope Francis will range from $95 to $230  committee and will be sold online.

The announcement came from the organizing committee at a Monday, Jan. 29 press conference.

Nine packages, for accommodation and food, include the “pilgrim kit”, transportation and medical insurance.

The price varies, depending on the number of tickets to the different events that will take place between Monday, Jan.  21 and Sunday, Jan. 27. the peak activity will be held on the last day with a  vigil and a field Mass celebrated by Pope Francis.

The committee said that the registration period has not yet been opened.The closing of electronic registrations will be on January 17, 2019.  “The formal beginning will be when the Holy Father registers as the first pilgrim to participate in the WYD, ” said Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa.

Eydín Solanilla, director of Registration and Reception of WYD 2019, said that payments can be by credit card or bank transfer, until November 30, 2018. Those who pay before July 31, will get a 10% discount.

Ulloa stated that a “solidarity fund” will be established, which will be fed by the pilgrims.

“When they sign up, they will contribute $12 more to allow other young people to have the same experience.”

Víctor Chang, executive secretary of the organizing committee, said that over  50,000  host families have already been registered, but the goal is 250,000. “What the pilgrims are looking for is a space to sleep, to take a shower and leave their backpacks”, Chang said.

“Experience shows that host families are not enough. You have to adapt spaces in gyms, camps, salons … with good baths or showers, “he added.

The city is anticipating an influx of 400,000 pilgrims. Metro Line 2 is expected to be open in November this year.



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I've seen projected attendance figures ranging between 300,000 and 4 million visitors.  Even 300,000 will pose huge issues for Panama.  

Is this really a good idea? This event, especially if attendance is high, is going to paralyze Panama City for a week. That is going to have a negative impact on the economy of Panama as people simply won't be able to get around the city.  And it's not like these visitors will be bringing a bunch of tourist dollars with them.  Backpack pilgrims are on a tight budget. Panama is going to spend a lot of money on security, and undoubtedly there will be an additional burden on the health care system during that period. I'm not sure, but it also looks to me like these events may overlap somewhat with Boquete's Flower and Coffee festival and it might hurt attendance here due to logistical problems, if nothing else.

I don't have any objection to the event itself,  of course. And I don't want to come across as a nattering nabob of negativism (thank you, Spiro Agnew), but it seems to me that Panama is going to spend and lose a significant amount of money hosting this event in exchange for some news stories mentioning the location. Am I wrong?

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Pope Francis opens registration for WYD Panama

Pope Francis clicks in on WYD register
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Pope Francis became the first person to register for the 2019 World Youth Day (WYD)  in Panama  with the words: “That’s it, I’ve registered as a pilgrim on the journey to WYD Panama.”

He made the announcement in Rome, on Sunday, February 11, before hundreds of faithful who gathered in the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square to attend the Angelus prayer. The Panama event will be from January 22 to 27, 2019.

The pontiff was accompanied by two young people representing the pilgrims and volunteers who will arrive in Panama.

“I invite all the young people of the world to join with faith and enthusiasm this event of grace and fraternity, whether traveling to Panama or participating in their local communities, ” he said.

The event is expected to  draw some 400,000 to Panama, which will delight tourism authorities but has raised  concerns with some over how a city of around 880,000 people with traffic-clogged streets and an overloaded transportation system,  will cope with a five-day  influx of almost half its population, Metro Line 2 will be only partially opened and the 2019 election campaign will be at full pitch.

WYD is a religious and cultural event that gathers young people from all over the world every three years.

It is a festive gathering in which hundreds of thousands of young Catholics congregate in the city chosen by the pontiff to host the WYD that will be filled with pilgrims and volunteers.

Past roll calls
To date, there have been  13 World Youth Days. in 1987 in Buenos Aires (Argentina), 1989 Santiago de Compostela (Spain),1991  Czestochowa (Poland), 1993 Denver (United States),  1995  Manila (Philippines), 1997  Paris (France), 2000 Rome (Italy), 2002 Toronto (Canada), 2005 Cologne (Germany), 2008  Sydney (Australia), 2011 Madrid (Spain), 2013 Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), 2016 Krakow (Poland).

Young people who participate in WYDs are usually aged between 15 andm30. Most of them tend to be university students.

The record WYD  attendance was in Manila with 5 million young people, according to estimates by local authorities.

The most multitudinous European WYD was in Rome in the year 2000, with 2,100,000  young people.



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Pope knocks “likes” in Panama WYD message

Pope Francis at the last WYD in Poland
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WITH  less than a year to the World Youth Day  (WYD) to be celebrated in Panama,  over  42,000 people have registered since the lists were opened last week.

On Thursday. Feb. 22 Pope Francis sent a message to the young people of the world who are thinking of participating in the religious and cultural event and gave a homily on social media.

“As WYD in Panama approaches, I invite those who want to be part of this great adventure to prepare with joy and the enthusiasm, “he said.

“WYD is for the brave, not for young people who only seek comfort and who recoil from difficulties. Do you accept the challenge? “He added.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio recalled that the XXXIII World Youth Day, will have a place at the diocesan level in Rome on February  25, when the Catholic Church celebrates Palm Sunday ” another step in the process of preparation for WYD  International of Panama in 2019. ” But he took time out to identify problems facing today’s youth, such as the “Terror and uncertainty” or the fear of not being accepted in the group.

“Today, many young people feel compelled to be different from what they really are and try to adapt to often artificial and unattainable standards, “he said.

Many spend their time ” with continuous photographic retouching” of their image “hiding behind masks and false identities until they almost become fake themselves.

he raised the alarm about the “obsessive” tendency to receive likes,

“Many are obsessed with receiving as many” likes “as possible. And this sense of inadequacy produces fears and uncertainties, “he said in his message.

The Pope asked young people not to lock themselves in and raise “a barricade” to defend themselves against everything and everyone but to go out and talk and dialogue with others.

The pontiff said that many young people today feel “disturbed and seized by so many fears”, but pointed out above all one that surpassed all the others: “there is a deep fear of not to be loved of not being accepted for what you are. ”

“Do not leave, the radiance of youth in the darkness of a closed room in which the only window to see the world is the computer and the smartphone, “he added.

He urged them to have “courage” and to use “their strengths and energies to improve the world, starting with the closest reality. ” The key -according to the Pope’s recipe- is “to love the people with whom we share daily life. And we can also love those who  are not so beautiful.”



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World’s most powerful  man Panama bound

Pope Francis at the last WYD in Poland
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By Jonathan Power

THE  PRESENT POPE- Francis- is probably the most powerful man in the world, in the round [and is soon coming to Panama].

Stalin once asked when confronted with the argument about the Pope’s reach and influence, replied, “How many divisions has the Pope got?” He missed the point. The Pope does not work these days in the world of hard power. He is a peddler of soft power.

Francis has much more power, maybe because of the strength of his convictions than any of his predecessors, with the exception of the Polish pope, John Paul 11, who played a front-line role in triggering the events that brought down communism.

John Paul 11 set his sights high. How could this youngish pope have such an impact? It was drive, personality and an intuitive knowledge of how power worked. He was also enormously charismatic and could summon up a crowd of half a million people with the click of his fingers- or so it sometimes seemed.

Francis uses his power and crowd-pulling charisma for a different cause- to help the poor, the dispossessed and the suffering. Traditionally, popes have stressed the value of the Church’s edicts on divorce, birth control and the confession of sins. At one time, not very long ago, it concentrated on propagating belief in far-out concepts like infallibility, angels, limbo, and purgatory. Maybe Francis believes some of this but it isn’t what he likes to talk about, as his predecessors did.

When he was the new Archbishop of Buenos Aires he still rejected liberation theology with its strong socialist content that embraces the so-called “preferential option for the poor”. He came to change his mind. The poor and this philosophy are now the centerpieces of his work.

But did that make him a through and through good man? I don’t think so.

I came to this conclusion after a long and thorough study of his earlier life as the superior of the Argentinian Jesuits, a bishop and finally a cardinal. In that period he shunned for most of the time being outspoken about the appalling abuses of the military government, despite many Catholics being tortured or having their small children confiscated. What he did do was to help on the quiet- sheltering people on the run and intervening with the authorities about particular prisoners. In this sense, he was the opposite of his counterpart in Brazil which was also under the thumb of a military regime. Cardinal Paulo Arns took the government head-on publically and as a result was very much a major contributing influence in ending the regime and turning Brazil towards democracy. My long article on Francis was published two years ago by the World Policy Journal. The editor of this influential foreign policy magazine aptly headlined my article, “When the Pope turned his back”.

The full story has not been told elsewhere. In a new book, “Absolute Power”, published this month, the space given to it is fairly brief. The author, Paul Collins, does the same as the three major authors who published before him- playing down this aspect of Francis’s life.

In other ways it is an outstanding book, going right back to the popes of the Enlightenment and giving living portraits of the popes of the last century. To understand how the church has changed and evolved over the last 300 years and produced a pope like Francis this book is extremely useful.

There are some important things the present pope misses out on in his many contributions to foreign affairs, and the book gives the reader the depth that one needs to have in order to understand this.  For example, take the life of Benedict XV who was pope during the First World War.

Benedict was a near pacifist, which surely Jesus Christ was. Benedict was probably the only pope who never mentioned the value of the just-war theory of Saints Augustine and Thomas, which Catholic politicians like to quote when they are involved in deploying almighty force. “Benedict opposed war in any form and rejected the theory of just war as historically outmoded”.

If only modern-day popes could see war like this, given their immense charisma, they might well have had a real influence on stalling the wars in Vietnam, Central America, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Today Francis often speaks about contemporary foreign affairs. But as he shouts from the rooftops about aiding the poor so must he more loudly lead Catholics against war. He did take on President Donald Trump during the election for unchristian behavior, but obviously, his attacks were not often enough or deep enough to persuade many Catholics not to vote for him.

If he could be more outspoken, not less, then, despite the inadequacies in part of his earlier life, he could become to be seen, perhaps, as one of the greatest of all popes.

Pope Francis will be in Panama January 22-27  next year for World Youth Day (WYD).



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81,000 accommodations  for Panama World Youth Day

Archbishop Ulloa.
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With earlier projections of up to 400,000 pilgrims for World Youth Day coming to Panama in January 2019  over 81,000  host accommodations have been registered so far.

Representatives from over 80 countries meeting to  review  logistics were told by  the Archbishop of Panama, José Domingo Ulloa on Thursday, June 7: “We  are working to provide the best conditions to the thousands of young people who will make the pilgrimage to Panama,”

Eydin Solanilla, director of Registration and Reception of the WYD, said in addition to the 81,000 host spaces It is estimated that, for the activity in the isthmus, there will be more than 150 reception centers for pilgrims (national and international).

On the accommodation spaces, Ulloa acknowledged that “in many homes, we have found many prejudices”.

He said  that young people participating in the 5-day event, attended by Pope Francis, go through a due process, so “you have to break down those fears.”



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Medical teams train for inflow  of WYD  pilgrims

Chemical weapons response team
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WITH Just 7 months to World Youth Day (WYD) IN Panama the Ministry of Health (MINSA) is training emergency personnel to resolve difficult situations that arise in the month of January 2019, when scores of thousands of pilgrims will arrive on Panamanian soil potentially putting a strain on Panama’ already strained and underfunded health services.

Health clinics will have staff on standby during weekends and evenings

Around 16 officials, including doctors, paramedics and nurses from the 15 regions of the country, held drills this weekend related to emergency care as part of the first course of instructors developed by the Ministry.

A press release says that the initiative aims to “prepare the staff to achieve greater coverage in provinces such as Chiriqui, Bocas del Toro, Darién and Colon, extreme points where pilgrims are expected to arrive. ”

From recognition of the use of weapons, to their treatment, initial ation in unforeseen situations and the management of risk, among other skills; were the focus in the  Ministry workshop.



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World Youth Day planners need homestay support

Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa- center
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With seven months to go only 45 percent of the targeted homestays for pilgrims to World Youth Day (WYD) have been confirmed and Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa who heads the local organizing committee  has called upon Panamanians to put aside their fears  and open their doors to the anticipated inflow of  at least 250,000 young people from around the world.

He confirmed on Thursday, Jan 21 that the estimated cost of organizing this event, from January 22 to 27, 2019, is  $54.5 million.

The funds will come, mostly, from the contribution of pilgrims, private donations, non-profit organizations, private enterprise, the public sector and seed capital of the  Catholic Church in Panama.

Ulloa, urged the population to “forget fear” and welcome the pilgrims who will come to the country.

“If we welcome a young man, we welcome the whole world,” said the prelate. The committee reported that, of the 180,000 anticipated spaces in family homes, 45% have been achieved.  100,000 dormitory spaces in schools and other centers have been confirmed.

Víctor Chang executive secretary said that 207 delegates from 83 countries who participated in the second preparatory meeting of WYD, two weeks ago, got a positive impression of the logistics for the months leading up to the event. The $54.5 million cost does not include the time invested by volunteers nor the state investment in security and transport.

One of the most important activities of the week will be the Festival of  Youth, which will expose all kinds of cultural proposals, whose main axis will be Catholic faith.

The committee said that the activity will bring benefits totaling between $12 million and $15 million in revenues from airport taxes and, hotel occupancy taxes and Itbms.

In addition, WYD will give Panama a tourist promotional window and as a global event, it will be covered by national and international media.



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Tender: Event Management for $12 million

In Panama, a tender has been launched for planning and technical engineering services for the assembly of infrastructure and technology for World Youth Day.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Panama Government Purchase 2018-0-03-0-08-LV-031722: 

"The future contractor will be in charge of planning and technical engineering for the assembly of infrastructure and technology equipment for the development of the events to be held from January 22 to 27, 2019, related to the visit of His Holiness the Pope within the framework of World Youth Day. In order to effectively execute the Tender Project, responsibility must be assumed for the following, in full:

a) Planning and Logistics 
b) Structural and Technical Design 
c) Assembly and Execution 
d) Production and Development 
e) Disassembly 
f) Cleaning of the areas."

Reference value: $11.984.000.

The deadline for receipt of bids is July 20 2018.

See tender.



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Moderator comment: For background information related to Nicaragua's withdrawal from this event, please see http://www.chiriqui.life/topic/9628-civil-unrest-in-nicaragua-increasingly-violent-stranding-panamanian-truck-drivers




Church of Nicaragua withdraws from event prior to WYD in Panama

Sat, 07/28/2018 - 17:58

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The Panamanian archbishopric said on Friday that the Church in Nicaragua, a country where hundreds of people were killed in the context of anti-government protests, announced its withdrawal from an event prior to the World Youth Day (WYD) to be held in Panama in January.

In a two-paragraph statement entitled "Nicaragua at the heart of WYD," the archbishopric of Panama said the Nicaraguan Church had announced its "withdrawal to hold the 'Days in the Dioceses' of World Youth Day, an international event whose headquarters has been assumed in the Central American region".

"Therefore, we encourage pilgrims to live this experience of 'Days in the Dioceses' in Costa Rica and Panama, where they are preparing to welcome and share with you during this time prior to World Youth Day, and it is one of the riches that marks the youth life in a special way".

The Panamanian archbishopric did not provide details on the dates of the event or what "Days in the Dioceses" consists of.

The Nicaraguan Episcopate acts as mediator of a dialogue table between the great civic alliance that calls for the ouster of President Daniel Ortega and his Government, which was installed in mid-May but has been suspended since the end of June.

Ortega has lashed out against Nicaraguan bishops, who have already been subject to physical attacks by pro-government groups, and has called them coup leaders for having proposed the advance to March 2019 of the elections scheduled for 2021 in Nicaragua.

The social revolt, which has killed between 295 and 448 people, broke out on April 18 due to reforms to social security that Ortega thwarted in an attempt to tackle the crisis, which nevertheless persists fueled precisely by the brutality of the government repression.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has held the Government of Nicaragua responsible for "assassinations, extrajudicial executions, ill-treatment, possible acts of torture and arbitrary detentions committed against the majority of the country's young population", an opinion supported by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The government rejects all these accusations and blames "terrorist groups" for attempting a "coup d'état" that would have already been defeated, as the vice president and first lady, Rosario Murillo, reiterated in the last two weeks.



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Panama sends 105 young people to study languages to serve WYD pilgrims

Sat, 08/04/2018 - 16:29


The Government of Panama announced it sent 105 young people to be trained in one of the seven most recognized languages for the World Youth Day (WYD) to be held in January in the Central American country. Attended by at least 300,000 young people and Pope Francis.

The presidency said in a statement the young people were sent by Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, who highlighted the work that will be done by these hundred young translator guides, whom he recognized as Panamanian ambassadors.

"You are not just 105 guides, you are 105 Panamanian ambassadors and the important thing is not how many people visit us but how many people are going to return, so teach our culture, our food, show our flag," said Varela.

The young people selected, who competed among 2,700 applicants, are awarded scholarships by the Institute for Training and Use of Human Resources (IFARHU) and will travel to study the seven main languages of the world (Mandarin, German, Polish, English, Portuguese, Italian and French).

The 105 selected youths received intensive training -for four months- in the Language Center of the University of Panama.

"Depending on the language they will specialize in, they will travel to the corresponding country for four more months, to return with the knowledge of that language and help those who will visit our country," said the IFARHU Planning Director, Anibal Barnett, during the event organized in the Peace Room of the Presidency of the Republic, the source said.



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Moderator comment: "JMJ" in the title of this article stands for Jornada Mundial de la Juventud Panamá.


Video of JMJ 2019 highlights the beauty and attractions of Panama

Mon, 08/06/2018 - 16:20

Showing the beauty, variety of landscapes and attractions of Panama was one of the objectives in the making of the international video of the World Youth Day (YMJ) 2019 hymn, Pedro Guevara Mann, artistic director of this film work, told Efe.

"This is a video that promotes our country, which says: 'come to Panama', but without looking like a tourist video. Moreover, several people from abroad have told me after watching the video they want to go to Panama," said deacon Guevara Mann in a questionnaire answered to Efe.

The film production to illustrate the hymn "Make yourself in me according to your word", by Panamanian Abdiel Jiménez, was recorded in eleven days, while the general edition with "the changes, the corrections, the colorization and the audio" took two months, said the artistic director of the WYD 2019, which will be held in Panama City from January 22 to 27.

It features well-known places in the country such as El Valle de Antón, Cerro Campana in Capira, the Chagres River, the Bridge of the Americas, La Boca area (below the Bridge of the Americas), the Panama La Vieja Monumental Complex and the Casco Antiguo from the city.

"We used some churches and took advantage of the procession of Don Bosco to demonstrate popular religiosity, and we also filmed during the Youth Renewal Meeting in Chitré," added the creative, after stating films were made in the Cinta Costera, in the capital and on stage where most of the events of WYD 2019 will take place.

Guevara Mann said the international video particularly highlights the Mariano motto of the next WYD, as well as the messages of Pope Francis on how a young person is the best tool to evangelize another young person, and how young people should have a connection with the elderly.

"We shared ideas which led to the idea of someone finding the statue of Santa María La Antigua because that's the way it is. A person finds Christ when he least expects it and He opens a new world under the mantle of the Holy Spirit," Guevara Mann said when referring to the young man who appears at the beginning and end of the film.

He stressed since WYD is an international and multilingual event, where half of the pilgrims will be foreigners and the other half Spanish speakers, the video of the hymn is sung in Spanish, English, French, Italian and Portuguese.

The soloists are Panamanian Catholic singers, while the interpreters of Portuguese are two young people from the Catholic community Shalom of Brazil who are in Panama working for WYD, said the artistic director, who highlighted the musicians are Panamanians.

In this video there are also well-known national personalities such as the Archbishop of Panama, Monsignor José Domingo Ulloa, and composer Adbiel Jiménez.

Pedro Guevara Mann shared ideas with Natasha Pineda to write the script and whose production was 100 percent funded by the Local Organization Committee of WYD.

This film production could be around $ 40,000, but thanks to the support of artists and volunteers who participated in it, its cost was lower because they donated their time and talent.

For Guevara Mann, a Panamanian based in Canada, having made this project turned out to be "an incredible experience", due to the diverse anecdotes he experienced during the filming and which he described as a meeting, when meeting with workers from the national artistic and television field.

"I’m proud of working in my country, with Panamanians, to create something that will touch so many people!" He told Efe.

The release of the video and the international presentation of the anthem took place at the beginning of last July and it can be found on the official Youtube site of WYD 2019. EFE




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Cinta Costera renamed for  World Youth Day

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PANAMA’S Cinta Costera  1 and 2 will be used as the center of activities for World Youth Day (JMJ) , Tuesday, January  22 to Thursday,  25,   and  will be called  Campo Santa María la Antigua for the period says Police Commissioner  and head of the joint task force for the event, J osé Espitia

The commissioner said that on Tuesday 22 the Archbishop of Panama, José Domingo Ulloa; will be celebrating the welcome Mass and on Wednesday they will have youth activities. and the arrival of Pope Francis in the afternoon;

On n Thursday the paraliturgy is scheduled in the presence of the Pope and on Friday 25 the Way of the Cross and participants will move to an open area that will be named Juan Pablo II. The precise location has not yet been identified.

That’s where the great prayer vigil will be held on Saturday 26, and on Sunday 27 Pope Francis. will celebrate mass

Eduardo Soto, Communication Director of the Local Organizing Committee said that during the celebration of the activity international media will have priority with over 6,000 expected to boost the flagging occupancy rates of local hotels.

The official agenda of the Pope will be announced, in November, but at the moment he has no plans to move to other areas that are not in the capital city said, Soto.



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One and a half million olive tree rosaries for Panama WYD

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OVER  one and a half million rosaries made in  Bethlehem  from the wood of  olive tree  are being produced  in Bethlehem  for the World Youth Day ( WYD/JMJ), scheduled for January 2019  in Panama

Monsignor Pierre Bürcher, bishop emeritus of Reykjavik, Iceland, plans to donate the rosaries to the young people participating in the event which will be attended by Pope Francis who will ask them to pray for peace.

The rosaries are being produced in Jerusalem, through a project called AVE JMJ, headed by Monsignor Bürcher, which seeks to encourage young people to pray for peace.

“We decided to call the project AveJmj, where ‘Ave’ represents the prayer to Mary, while JMJ is the  Spanish acronym ofWorld Youth Day, but also the initials of the names of Jesus, Joseph, and Mary,”  explains Monsignor Bürcher,

The project involves 800 people, working with 81 million beads and 750 kilometers of elastic yarn to assemble the rosaries.

“We have 11 workshops already involved in the project. Some specialize in rosary beads and others in crosses. Working the olive wood is an essential trade in Bethlehem and was in the process of disappearing, but with this initiative, the workshops have reopened,” said Monsignor Bürcher.

The crosses will be engraved on one side with the word Bethlehem, remembering its origin and on the other, WYD 2019.

Young people attending the event will be given three rosaries, one for themselves, another for someone in Panama and the third to take back to their home country where they can give it to another young person.

The rosaries produced in the Holy Land will cost one dollar each, and the San Juan María Foundation is looking for financing for the initiative.



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Nicaragua cancels WYD lead-up events

The sort of crowds organizers had hoped for
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World Youth Day (WYD) once wildly forecast as drawing  400,000 -500,000pilgrims  from across the world to Panama, has so far seen only  slightly more than 200,000 registrations, most of them from the host country. in spite of cheerleading by President Varela and First  Lady   Lorena Castillo, it might not provide the fillip needed by Panama’s ailing tourism industry and attendance at the papal mass which has drawn over a million worshippers  in other locations  like Toronto and Krakow is likely to fall far short.

The latest blow to the January 2019 event comes from the Church of Nicaragua which has announced it will not be participating in lead-up events. due to the political and social crisis that the country is going through.

“The Catholic Church (of Nicaragua) decided not to participate in the WYD because of the social and political problems they have at the moment,”  coordinator Domingo Espitia, told Nicaraguan journalists.

Espitia indicated that from January 16 to 20 several public events were scheduled in Nicaragua and Costa Rica prior to the World Youth Day.

However, “due to the social problems that it is experiencing, Nicaragua has desisted from participating.

Espitia also said that many pilgrims from northern Central America, who had planned to travel to Panama by road, will no longer do so to avoid going through Nicaragua.

Nicaragua has been going through a serious political and social crisis since April with massive demonstrations against the government of Daniel Ortega, leaving at least 320 dead and hundreds of detainees.

The Pope will arrive in Panama on the  January 23. A day later he will be received by the youth pilgrims on the Cinta Costera.

According to Panama organizers, to date, there are 207,000 registered pilgrims for WYD, mostly from the host country, Costa Rica, Mexico and Colombia.



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Panama expects more than 5,000 journalists for World Youth Day

Thu, 09/27/2018 - 17:51

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The organizing committee of the World Youth Day (WYD), to be held in Panama in January 2019, today authorized the registration of the press for the religious event and said that it expects that almost 5,000 journalists from all over the world are accredited.

"We are expecting approximately 5,000 journalists from around the world, and we are convinced that the success of this day depends largely on communication," said the Archbishop of Panama and President of the Episcopal Conference of Panama, José Domingo Ulloa.

The archbishop said that "we are already in the countdown" and that there are hardly any pending things to be done in the face of WYD, which is one of the most important events organized by the Catholic Church and that every three years brings together the Pope for a week with young people from all over the world.

We already have almost 65 percent of the families and they are also adapting public spaces, many of these young people who are welcomed by families are sure to return to visit the country," added Ulloa.

The archbishop explained that the official agenda of Pope Francisco is still unknown and will be publicly expected in mid-November.

WYD is expected to gather around half a million people between January 22 and 27, 2019 in Panama, including young pilgrims, priests, nuns and journalists from around the world.

The organizing committee of the religious event reported last week that more than 200,000 pilgrims from all over the world have registered.

At the last WYD held in 2016 in the Polish city of Krakow, more than 1.6 million pilgrims attended, while at WYD in Rio de Janeiro (2013) there were more than 3.5 million.

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela has reiterated on several occasions that WYD is not only from Panama, but it is an event throughout Central America, since the last Pope who visited the region was John Paul II in 1982.



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World Youth Day (WYD) souvenir coins

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The first batch of 40 million Balboa ($1)  coins newly minted to commemorate the World Youth Day (WYD) event in  Panama in January 2019, will be in circulation on Monday, October 8.

The coin popularly referred to as a Martinelli will have on the obverse side the image of the Cathedral Basilica Santa María La Antigua  or the WYD Panama logo, and, on the other side, the National Shield and the denomination “Un Balboa.”

The next image to enter circulation will be the Oratorio San Felipe Neri.

Collector package
The Ministry of Economy and Finance was authorized to mint 2,000 sets of quality coins aimed at collectors. The coins will enter the market with a denomination of 20 balboas, a diameter of 38 millimeters and its presentation is a wooden case with a finish that is in line with the global importance of this event reports La Estrella

This collection of coins has a purity of 99.99% silver, with  24 carat gold band. Each of these cases has the complete set of commemorative coins and will be available from the month of December of this year and will cost a 1,000 balboas ($1,000)

The complete set of commemorative coins will be available at the National Bank of Panama.



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Police cadets prepare Panama WYD census

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SOME 150  police cadets started a census of Bella Vista residents on Saturday, October 6,  as plans move forward for World Youth Day activities on the Cinta Costera in January 2019.

The census is to obtain information about the number of people who live in the area and The data obtained in this census will allow authorities to provide facilities for residents and businesses access and exit during the event.

The cadets in National  Police Uniform are under the supervision of senior officials.

“We are focused on guaranteeing safety during the [five days] event and our units also remain in permanent operational training,” said National Police Director Alonso Vega Pino.

As part of the preparations for WYD about 4,000 members of public security forces have been trained in various languages to provide assistance to the scores of thousands of pilgrims who will visit the isthmus.



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Countries without a Panamanian consular presence will manage a visa for WYD 2019

Sat, 10/13/2018 - 23:59


Countries without a Panamanian diplomatic presence will manage a visa for those enrolled in the World Youth Day to be held in Panama from January 22 to 27, 2019, the National Security Service of Migration (SNM) announced.

The entity said in a statement that the option for the visa application, with the requirements that must be met, is active on its website www.migracion.gob.pa

The measure is regulated in Executive Decree 607 dated October 11, 2018, which establishes the procedure for applying for a visa for those registered at WYD 2019, whose country lacks consular presence in Panama.

The aforementioned decree will be valid until the end of the World Youth Day in January 2019, according to official information.

WYD is expected to gather around half a million people in January 22-27, 2019 in Panama, including young pilgrims, priests, nuns and journalists from around the world.

The organizing committee of the religious event reported last month that more than 200,000 pilgrims have already registered and that more than 5,000 journalists are expected to arrive.

More than 1.6 million pilgrims attended the last WYD held in 2016 in the Polish city of Krakow, while more than 3.5 million pilgrims attended the WYD held in Rio de Janeiro in 2013.

Panamanian president Juan Carlos Varela has reiterated on several occasions that WYD is not only from Panama, but it is an event throughout Central America, since John Paul II has been the only Pope who has visited the region in 1983.



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WYD, plans theme park for Parque Omar

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The Local Organizing Committee of World Youth Day 2019 announced Friday, October 23  that a theme park will be installed in Parque Omar during the January  event

It will be a space divided into pavilions reflecting the Gospel. This interactive space of about 1,300 meters, will feature virtual reality, holographic screens, Microsoft Kinect®, eBeacons, QR code, 3D, 4 D, Karaoke, interactive video wall, GPS, image recognition and 360 ° videos, drones and Live Streaming.

“There pilgrims  will be able to have a process of reflection, prayer and action through the Lectio Divina method adapted to the young people and to the world of today”, said the Committee



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Prisoners seek redemption building WYD confessionals

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Prisoners in the La Joya and Nueva Joya jails are working on the construction of  250 confessionals that will be installed in the “Pardon Park” during the World Youth Day Panama (WYD),  January 22-27 and gaining on the way a path to their own second chance according to participants.

Some 35 inmates who are participating say “it is not a matter of ‘simple joinery work”, but of feeling included in a project for young people, who like them face social risks, but who “can still take a different path.”.

In the  prison workshops, they have learned, teamwork and self-confidence,  and gained skills that they plan to put into practice once they leave the penitentiary.

Interior designer Lilibeth Bennet created two models of the confessionals, both inspired by the curved lines of the WYD logo and using the same colors.

For her, the designs take on an even more special meaning when brought to reality by inmates, “since in them is the transforming work of Christ, capable of bringing out the best in each one of us” she told El Siglo.

Jesus Ramos was convinced that he would pay his sentence in the middle of four walls, with the Bible as his only companion but , he was chosen to participate in this initiative and, despite not being Catholic, he is sure of the valuable contribution that the World Youth Day gives  to the young people of the world.

“I am evangelical and I am grateful that they have taken me into account because here I have learned to use the tools, to work together based on respect and t towards the same goal. Thanks to WYD, I feel included and happy to work for God, “said Ramos.



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Increased airport security for WYD

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SECURITY at Tocumen International Airport will be stepped up for World Youth Day (WYD) 2019  with the installation of  smart cameras and software  connected  to an international database  says  National Police Director, Alonso Vega Pino, All the necessary controls at airports are being reinforced he said and  “As Panama  is connected to the international intelligence community,  information will be  shared  with all countries, in order to ensure security,”. WYD will be held in the Panamanian capital from January 22 to 27, but many visitors are expected to arrive early and/or leave later.


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Francisco will inaugurate WYD on January 24 on a seafront promenade of Panamanian capital

Tue, 11/20/2018 - 16:00


Pope Francis will open the World Youth Day (WYD) on January 24 on the seafront promenade of the capital of Panama, the first of a series of events where he will participate during his five-day stay in the Central American country.

The archbishop of Panama, José Domingo Ulloa, explained today in a press conference the pontiff's agenda, which includes a via crucis with the youths on Friday, January 25, also on the capital's seafront promenade, known as Cinta Costera.

The space provided in the Cinta Costera, located in front of the Bay of Panama (Pacific) for events with the Pope, has been named Campo Santa María La Antigua, the patron saint of Panama.

On Saturday, January 26 a vigil will be held with the youths at Campo San Juan Pablo II, Metro Park, on the eastern outskirts of the capital, and in the same place the pope will hold the WYD Mass on Sunday morning, January 27, while in the afternoon he will participate in a meeting with the volunteers of the WJD at the national stadium Rommel Fernández.

The Pope will arrive in Panama on Wednesday, January 23 and will be received with State honors. The next day, he will be officially welcomed at the Palace of Las Garzas, in a ceremony that will be headed by Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela.

On Thursday, January 24, the Pope will hold a meeting in the morning with the authorities and representatives of Panamanian society and with diplomats accredited in the country, and then with the Central American bishops.

On Friday, January 25, he will hold a penitential liturgy with young prisoners in the Center of Minors Enforcement of Las Garzas de Pacora, located about 30 kilometers east of the Panamanian capital.

On Saturday, January 26, the Pope will hold a Mass at the Cathedral Basílica Santa María La Antigua with priests, consecrated persons and lay movements, and will have a meal with the youth at the San José Major Seminary.

On Sunday 27, after the holy mass of the WYD, he will visit Casa Hogar Buen Samaritano, participate in the meeting with the volunteers in the capital's stadium and go to the Tocumen International Airport to take the flight to return Rome.



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