“The joyful mysteries tell us the story of Mary’s yes in the Gospels over and over. These biblical expressions of Mary, as a young person, saying “Here I am” highlight the suffering and the hardships that come with that yes. But they stand to prove that by opening up yourself to God’s plan in your life, you avail yourself to more love and joy than you can possibly imagine.”
The Most Reverend Christopher Prowse, Archbishop of Canberra Goulburn in Australia, addressed pilgrims in the opening session of catechesis in one of several English-speaking locations of World Youth Day in Panama City, Panama, on Wednesday, Jan. 23. Several thousand souls filed into the gym at the Instituto Americano for the morning and participated in icebreakers, prayer, praise and worship, a talk with Archbishop Prowse and a concluding with Mass.
In the afternoon the pilgrims moved to the Figali Convention Center, where the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, Knights of Columbus and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops hosted engaging speakers in the World Youth Day Fiat Festival. Included in the lineup were Bishop Edward Burns, Bishop Frank Caggiano, Sister Bethany Madonna and several others. Throughout the festival a vibrant praise and worship band led the multitude in song and dancing. Flags waved amid the dancing lights, and the joy and enthusiasm were palpable.
A highlight of the evening was adoration with Cardinal Sean O’Malley and Bishop Robert Barron, who challenged the youth to have courage in living a life that fully says “yes” to the plan of Jesus in their lives.
Clouds of incense rose against a simple and powerful backdrop of the monstrance as silence fell over the souls kneeling in reverence and awe of Jesus in their presence. Hearts and voices sang in prayerful worship as Cardinal O’Malley led the eucharistic procession throughout the arena. “You are not here by accident, you are here because of an invasion of grace in your life,” said Bishop Barron. “Embrace that grace. Go out into the depths. Trust me when I say, you find what God has planned for you. You are going to find life and have life to the full.”
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