East Anglians join Pope and 600,000 at Panama vigil
A group of young people from the Diocese of East Anglia joined Pope Francis and up to 600,000 other pilgrims at a huge overnight vigil and Mass at the end of World Youth Day in Panama City yesterday (January 27).
The group of seven, who flew from Norwich a week ago, have spent the last seven days with hundreds of thousands of other young pilgrims enjoying teaching sessions, cultural events, concerts and several large-scale set-piece events in and around Panama City.
World Youth Day culminated yesterday with an overnight vigil and final sending Mass which was celebrated by Pope Francis himself.
Pope Francis tweeted from the event: “Go forth and bear witness to what you have seen and heard, not with lots of words but with simple, daily actions.”
Jess McCall, from the Ignite Youth Team, based in Walsingham, said: “The evening vigil was a beautiful event and Pope Francis talked about how we should embrace life as it comes and say yes to God even though it may seem difficult. He used the phrase "only that which is loved can be saved" - highlighting the importance that love should have in our lives. The Pope reminded us that every time we fall, God helps us back up and that he is always there to help us.
“We have all really enjoyed our experience and are really looking forward to World Youth Day Lisbon 2022.”
Fr Michael Johnstone (aged 85) from Norwich, who has attended eight previous WYDs since 1981 across Europe, Australia and North and South America, was one of the oldest pilgrims. He said: “For young Catholics it is an eye-opener for them to be with a vast number of enthusiastic fellow Christians and be led by Pope Francis, reminding us of our unity in Christ.”
You can watch videos of all the main WYD events at: www.shalomworldtv.org/wyd2019
Pictured above is the East Anglia group in Panama City. You can see full picture galleries of the whole of World Youth Day on the official Flickr account.