Young Pilgrims Progress in Panama
Hi, my name is Ameera Ahmed and I am from Blanchardstown. I work in Intel and I participate in leadership programmes in St. Paul’s and in my parish. I am now attending my second World Youth Day.
We arrived at Dublin airport in very cold temperatures in the rain…. Our group had a prayer before entering the terminal and we had some dancing and singing photographs and some selfies! We were excited and nervous as we had a long trip ahead of to Panama – a country we are not familiar with but looking forward visiting.
I also volunteer in Spirit Radio and I was asked to help create a positive experience of using social media and linking our pilgrims in faith to their friends at home. We have a mini media team and our task is to create picture memories and create blogs and vlogs based on the testimonies of our young pilgrims. After a long delay in Paris we did some interviews for pilgrims to see what they were looking forward to and what they will expect. For new pilgrims they were nervous. Former pilgrims were looking forward to a smaller and more intimate group. After all our preparation they were looking forward to staying in families.
The heat. Once we arrived at the airport after a 13-hour flight and delays for bags and buses we arrived at the parish after 25 hours of continuous travel. We were met by the most amazing welcome, huge among the people, fireworks, music dancing and a fantastic welcome. Apart from language, we all were able to relax with food and meet our new families. Our colleagues from Latvia and New Zealand had arrived just earlier… and helped to welcome us.
On Saturday morning very early we brought a group of our young people to a conference on the Care for Common Home…We used the Metro in our parish which only opened today. Later in the morning we received our Media registration.
On Sunday in our parish of Santiago Apostle we had a parish mass with an international flavour. The Irish, Polish, New Zealanders, Latvians and Brazilians all helped with different parts of mass. After communion we were treated to some dancing in a Panamanian way – it was really beautiful. After mass our pilgrims presented the parish a set of vestments from the World Meeting of Families. Other nationalities also presented gifts to the parish.
On Monday we had our final Mercy day in collaboration with Aid to the Church in need. We broke into groups and some of visited families where there were sick members or housebound and we talked and sang with them. It was really special. Other pilgrims in our group played sport with local children and helped to teach them some English words. We also had a group who prepared food for the homeless and hungry in the parish. This was also given out in the streets nearby. Pilgrims also had the same food.
Overall these days have been special and connecting with the local parish has been amazing.
Young Dublin Catholics travel to see the Pope in Panama
A group of 30 young pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Dublin is making their way to Panama, joining thousands from around the globe for World Youth Day with Pope Francis. The group is made up of young people from Dublin parishes, third level students and several young people from around Ireland and Europe and who live in Dublin.
Pope Francis personally chose Panama and he will be there from 22nd to 27th January leading young people in an encounter of faith, friendship and reflection on what it means to be Catholic today. It is one of the largest events of its kind in the world and will be hosted in 33 locations around Panama City, engaging young people from all over the globe in various expressions of faith, art and culture.
There will be seven stages in the main arena in Panama City, hosting an enormous range of events and activities as well as satellite stages in shopping centres, theatres, museums and in churches serving as adoration centres. One of the novelties of the Youth Festival programme is the “WYD 2019 Cup,” a friendly soccer tournament that will be held Wednesday, January 23rd in Costa del Este.
The Dublin group will arrive in Panama this Friday (18th January). They will all stay with families in a host parish, Parroquia Santiago Apostle. There, along with groups from Latvia and New Zealand they will take part in a social justice programme with local young parishioners visiting the elderly and housebound and help to prepare and deliver food to families in need in the locality.
On Saturday, six members of the Dublin Group will be taking part in a vital environmental debate Youth for the Common House – Safeguarding of Creation inspired by the Pope Francis’ global message on the environment, Laudato Si.
The Dublin group will also take part in the Opening Ceremony for the arrival of Pope Francis, the Way of the Cross and Vigil and Concluding Mass on Sunday 27th January.
Throughout their stay, they will be using social media to promote the pilgrimage and to keep in touch with a mirror event, which is happening in Dublin. Panama in Dublin will take place in the Emmaus Centre in Swords on Saturday and Sunday (26th and 27th). It includes a range of faith led activities. They will also be linking in live to the events in Panama, in particular Pope Francis’ address at the opening ceremony, vigil, and closing Mass. Young people from parishes throughout Dublin will be taking part.