Francis’ arrival in Panama for World Youth Day 2019 fuels anticipationJanuary 23, 2019
The fantastic meeting between little Sebastian and Pope FrancisJanuary 25, 2019
Last night, FOCUS, the USCCB and the Panamanian Knights of Columbus held the Fiat Festival for English-speaking pilgrims. The event centered on Our Lady’s Fiat and our response to God’s call in our lives, and it consisted of a series of speakers, music presentations and moments of prayer. It lasted from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm, with a brief break between 5:00 and 7:00 pm at the Figali Convention Center in Panama City.
The first section of the event included speeches from Bishop Burns, Bishop Caggiano, Drew and Kim Rose Dillingham, Sarah Halweg, and music from PJ Anderson. The second section included talks by Curtis Martin, Bishop Cepeda, Sr. Bethany Madonna, Bishop Barron and Cardinal O’Malley, music by Steve Angrisano and Iván Díaz and a powerful moment of Eucharistic adoration. There were also booths and opportunities for confession.
The pilgrims at the event were mostly from North America, Australia, and other English-speaking nations. There were, however, pilgrims from all over the world, including Colombia.
Maura, a pilgrim from a Marianist high school in New York, said that she found the conference to be an invitation to “overcome the challenges that come with your faith and how you can make sure you say ‘yes’ to your faith as you move on to the next stage in your life.” This theme was especially significant for her, as she will graduate next semester.
Cecider Ávila, from Loretto, Texas, said that he had liked Sister Bethany’s testimony the most. He said that a quote that stood out to him from her speech was, “God doesn’t want to take anything away from us except our sin.” He, then, explained, “He wants only the best for you, God doesn’t take away gold and give you silver.” Cecider said he went to the event because many English-speaking pilgrims were going, and he wanted to meet other US-based teens who were also part of an organization he is part of, Life Teen.
Monica Vallarta, another pilgrim from Loretto, Texas, said that she "really enjoyed hearing their testimonies of how they’ve given their ‘yes’ to God through their ministry and through their vocation.”
Sarah Galindo, from Colombia, also liked the Fiat theme and its connection to World Youth Day. After all, she said that she came to WYD because “I felt that God called me to come, and He didn’t only call me, he brought me here.”
Sofía Sarria, also from Colombia, said that she especially liked the talk by Bishop Cepeda because “it gave me hope in the youth and that we do have the potential to change the world.”