Dear Brothers and Sisters: Today I ask you to join me in thanking God for the graces he bestowed on the Church and on the people of Panama during my recent visit for World Youth Day. I thank the President and other authorities and particularly the volunteers for their warm welcome. The groups of people gathered there formed a great symphony of faces and languages typical of this event and the sight of the waving of so many flags was a prophetic sign that young Christians are leaven of peace for the world.
One of the elements of World Youth Day is always the Via Crucis. In Panama, the youth carried with Jesus and Mary the suffering of many brothers and sisters in Central America and beyond, especially those affected by forms of slavery and poverty, and by HIV/Aids. At the Mass on Sunday the Risen Christ spoke afresh to young people, calling them to live the Gospel today, because they are the “today” of the Church and world.
Finally, the oil of Chrism used to consecrate the altar in the restored Cathedral in Panama, and which also anoints those being baptized, confirmed or ordained, enables families to draw life from the Holy Spirit so as to continue their pilgrimage throughout the world as young missionary disciples of Jesus Christ.