Panama City, 01/22/2019

The Neocatechumenal Way will be present at WYD in Panama. For a few days, young people from various parts of the world have begun to arrive in the country, and many others will in these days to meet Pope Francis.

About 25,000 young people from the Way are expected to
participate in the central activities and in the traditional
Vocational Meeting that the Way will celebrate next Monday 28, as a conclusion to
this WYD.

Young people are on pilgrimage in various Central American countries and cities in Panama itself.
They carry out authentic “popular missions” in the streets in
which they announce the Gospel, the Kerigma, that is, the Good News, and
they give their personal experiences of their encounter with Jesus Christ. At the same time, they sing the songs of the Way and dance, inviting everyone around who want to participate and join them.

Most of these young people come from America, and specifically from Central America, from countries with high rates of violence and crime.
There, the Way – lived in small communities – has helped and still helps
so many of them deal with this situation. Listening to the Kerigma and
the Christian initiation that is the Way helps the brothers to
stay in the faith and not lose heart before these
situations. The first-person experience of forgiveness and
Salvation is the one that these days entail and share in Panama

Despite the difficulties they face, young people have thus responded to the call of Francis, who in turn wants to find, sustain, and support the young people of Central America whose sufferings he knows well.

More than 8,000 young people from Central America

As it could not be otherwise, the most numerous come from Central America and the Caribbean: more than 8,000 young people. 1,500 will travel from Costa Rica, Nicaragua 1,500, from El Salvador 1,046, from Honduras and Guatemala 1,500 and 244, respectively. And from the Dominican Republic 250.

Some 3,400 will attend from Panama itself. About 100 will come from the Netherlands Antilles.

From South America 4,320 will participate. 2,200 young people will from Brazil. From Chile 500, Peru 250, Colombia 300 and Ecuador 700. 120 pilgrims will attend from Argentina, from Venezuela 120 and from Bolivia 15

From North America about 5,000. From the United States more than 4,000, from Puerto Rico 300. From Mexico about 400 and 40 from Canada, among others.

From the Pacific will come 300, specifically 250 from Australia and the rest from Kiribati, an archipelago located in the central west zone of the Pacific Ocean.

From Europe there will be 1,000 young people. About 300 young people will arrive from Italy, and 760 from Spain. 120 young people will arrive in Panama from Portugal. From Germany 80, Iceland 14, France 40 and 250 young people from Poland.

To all of them we must add thousands more who belong to the Way and come through other groups.

Vocational meeting

As is tradition in every WYD, the Way will hold a Vocational Meeting to “gather the fruits“, after listening to the many words that the Holy Father will offer to young people these days.

The international team of the Way, made up of Kiko Argüello, Ascensión Romero and Fr Mario Pezzi, will be in charge of guiding the meeting. Hundreds of itinerant catechists, priests and families in mission will also participate.

The meeting will be held on Monday, January 28 at the Rommel Fernández Stadium, the same stadium where Pope Francis will meet with WYD volunteers the day before before returning to Rome.

At the moment, 5 cardinals and 19 bishops have confirmed their attendance.

The meeting consists of various moments: the presentation of the young people who came from the different nations as well as cardinals and bishops; the proclamation of a Gospel; the announcement of the Kerigma and the vocational call to the priesthood, the consecrated life, or to the families themselves to go on mission wherever it is necessary.

The meeting is the final seal to the whole pilgrimage that young people have made for days and to moments lived together with the Holy Father.

The Neocatechumenal Way in Panama

In Panama there are 130 communities of the Way, most in Panama City, the capital, in 20 parishes. From the 8 dioceses that the Church in Panama has, the Way is present in 7 of them.

The Way arrived in the country in 1975 when the itinerants Rino Rossi, Natividad Aramburú and Fr. Emiliano Jiménez arrived.

Since 1990, the team responsible for the nation has been formed by Javier Cuartero and Sandra Samperi, and Fr Miguel Chiner has also been on the team since 2005.