Saturday night at approximately 1:29 AM, 15 young adults and I will be taxiing down the Dulles Airport runway headed for Panama! Aside from packing for mid-80s weather, preparing for our trip required some vaccinations – always fun – breaking in sneakers in anticipation of our 10-mile pilgrimage, keeping up-to-date on our Facebook group page; spending time with the WYD pilgrim journal [underscore pilgrim], etc.
We’re reminded that WYD is not a vacation or an escape from everyday life experiences, it’s a pilgrimage that’s goal is to be become closer to God. And, aside from our companions physically journeying with us, the Trinity and Mary will also accompany us.
The theme for WYD 2019 – “I am the servant of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word.” [cf Lk 1:38] – has a connection to the 2018 Synod on “Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment.” Mary’s yes, Pope Francis reminds us, was to God’s call when the angel Gabriel told Mary she was to be the mother of Jesus. The WYD theme is meant to remind us of the joy that comes with saying “yes” to God’s call in our own lives. Mary is a model for WYD pilgrims who are trying to figure out where God may be leading them. Pope Francis said in his message to young people preparing for WYD 2019, “Like the young woman of Nazareth, you can improve the world and leave an imprint that makes a mark on history – your history and that of many others.”
Certainly the highlight for pilgrims are the Way of the Cross [1/25], pilgrimage to the Vigil Site [1/26] and Mass [1/27] with Pope Francis. And for our Baltimore delegation we will also serve as the animation team at the English speaking catechetical site on January 24th [foundation day of the Sisters of Bon Secours]! Visit our Facebook page for updates from Panama.
Sr. Pat Dowling