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World Youth Day, Panama: Final Day

by Bishop Nicholas Hudson



We’ve had a deeply moving climax to this World Youth Day with the Saturday night Vigil and the Sunday morning Mass. Some 600,000 pilgrims flooded into the St John Paul II Field. It was a sea of flags. In his discourse on life, the Holy Father urged each one of us to understand that the greatest sin in life, as he put it, ‘is not the fall but our refusal to be lifted from the place where we’ve fallen.'

Nearly all the pilgrims slept overnight in the field, to be there, to greet the dawn and to greet the Holy Father when he returned soon after dawn to celebrate the final sending forth Mass of this pilgrimage. The Holy Father urged all the young pilgrims to believe they are not simply the future but the present of the Church, not the meanwhile but the now of the Church and that it is to our Blessed Mother Mary that they should turn for guidance because she believed not just in God but she believed God. At the end of the Mass the Holy Father confirmed that World Youth Day 2022 will be hosted by Portugal.

My prayer at the end of this pilgrimage is that Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady La Antigua, patroness of Panama in which we’ve been enjoying such a remarkable week will look down with love on all who walked this journey of faith together and indeed magnify in each of them the graces received.