The experiences that almost 350 young people lived in Panama a month ago still remain in the hearts of many. “It was beautiful to see the joy and conviction of so many young people
Young people from more than 180 countries of the world participated just one month ago in WYD 2019. Of the thousands of young people who arrived in Panama, almost 350 also lived the experience of WYD 2019 in the days leading up to it. The great meeting of the Augustinian Recollect Youth (ARY) gathered in St. Augustine’s College young people from different countries and different cultures but with the same feeling: to live with one soul and one heart directed towards God.
One month after the JMJAR, the experience continues to be fresh in the hearts of the young people of the JAR. For Debora Ferrer, from Argentina, it was “the most enriching experience of her life”. She was at WYD Krakow 2016 but considers that in this one she learned much more about the cultures and how the young people of each country live the charism. “I thank God for having given me this opportunity to show me that we are not alone, that there are other young people who also struggle for others to have a personal encounter with the risen Christ,” she says.
God moves his church through the youth and the WYD in Panama showed that the world has promises with who they are “God’s today,” as Pope Francis said. Since the arrival at Tocumen Airport, the joy and the living presence of a celebrating Church, of a world community that has been preparing for years so that those few days can become the diary of Christ in their hearts, was felt. “It was beautiful to see the joy and conviction of so many young people to be there in spite of the difficulties, all praying for peace and world order,” Debora recalls.
Jatna Liranzo, Dominican, remembers the preparations for WYD. They were very difficult; she thought that her dream of years was going to collapse in minutes, so much so that hours before taking the flight to Panama she had to be intervened in an emergency to extract some teeth. “Everything must be embraced: pain, suffering, adversity; that’s what life is all about, simply loving, that’s what makes us feel alive,” says Jatna. Despite the difficulties, she went to Panama to “live the best experience of my life, learning from myself.
It was a very growing experience for those who, together with Mary, went to receive Jesus in her Heart. Sebastian Gomez went to Panama from Brazil. At JMJAR he learned to “truly live the Augustinian charism”.
After a month, young people find it hard to remember what they experienced in Panama without feeling emotion. “Every day that passes I miss Panama more but I love to live each one of those memories and I feel that as time goes by the testimony I can give becomes bigger,” says Jatna. For Debora “it is difficult to see what a month has passed since that encounter of such magnitude, joy and joy. Something similar happens to Sebastian: “After a month I can only think of the wonderful experience I had and how I grew up personally.
Something has changed in the lives of the young people who lived together, like the first Christian communities, a week of community, formation and interior growth. It is something that is not easily forgotten, no matter how much time passes.