WYD day 12 — next stop, Panama

panamaThe following day we all woke up early to prepare the final Mass with the Holy Father. The translators had the blessing to have breakfast with the bishops who were going to concelebrate. Also, before Mass I saw the General Secretary of WYD walking around with a group from Panama and right away I figured out where will be the next WYD.

During the homily the Pope invited the young people to be courageous like Zacchaeus who did everything to be able to meet Jesus, the true treasure of our lives. At the end of Mass, Pope Francis announced that the next WYD in 2019 will take place in Panama.

After Mass they transported us by bus to a hockey arena where we would have a special encounter with the Pope and all the volunteers. On the way to the arena, we saw the endless crowds of young people marching back to the city. Despite the tiredness and the heavy rain, you could see the joy and excitement in their faces.

In the meeting at the arena, Pope Francis delivered an impromptu speech to thousands of “blue shirts” young men and women, the WYD volunteers who served tirelessly for at least a week. He asked us all of us to have the courage in order to be hope for the world’s future. He also mentioned that he was not sure if he would make to the next WYD in Panama, but he assured that “Peter” would be there to meet us.

After the meeting, as I was coming back to the Legionary community in Krakow, I experienced the grand finale this WYD of the mercy of God. I was feeling miserable because of tiredness, hunger, sleep deprivation, and was completely soaked. I stopped in a Church to pray for a while. Then, I felt someone touching my shoulder. It was very good Brazilian friend from Regnum Christi with a group of pilgrims. They thanked me for the translations and told me how helpful it was. That was a huge consolation from God, and in a very special way I felt the lovely presence of Jesus in the closing of WYD Krakow 2016.

Well, that is it folks. As the Pope mentioned to the youth, the WYD continues now at our lives, in the way we live mercy every day. Please, let us keep in our prayers all those young people and also all those who were not able to participate. May the Catholic Youth be a prophetic sign of peace, hope and faith in our lives.

I thank God for this opportunity of participating at the WYD, and also my superiors for letting me come. Also, I have a lot of gratitude to Fr Andreas, Fr Matthew, and Fr Mariusz who warmly welcomed us in the LC community at Krakow. Thank you also to the wonderful WYD interpreting team, especially to our coordinators Mateusz and Ola, and my talented partner Claudia.

See you in WYD 2019 Panama! Mary, Queen of Poland, pray for us!

About Br Antônio Lemos LC

Br Antônio Lemos is from Curitiba, Brazil. He joined the Legion of Christ in 2006 after a couple of years as a Regnum Christi member. He is a big fan of the Brazilian national soccer team, 1980´s pop culture (specially movies), and St Thomas Aquinas. He is currently studying Theology in Rome.
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