Once a pilgrim, always a servant

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Once a pilgrim, always a servant

Let's go back to 1987. Adolfo Araúz Sánchez was 26 years old and it was the first time that he attended a World Youth Day. Buenos Aires - "The City of Fury" - welcomed him and seven members of the Panamanian National Commission of Youth Ministry, who amidst joys and challenges were the first Panamanians to go to World Youth Day.
Upon landing in Argentina, the pilgrims met a country that had just emerged from a military dictatorship which had left a spiritual vacuum in its youth, with many wounds to heal. World Youth Day was a breath of hope .
A professor of biology today, Araúz looks with nostalgia on the photos that portray his experience. He smiles and wonders if St. John Paul II had imagined that Panama would ever host a World Youth Day.
"When I found out that my city would host WYD in 2019, I felt moved because I knew that Pope Francis had chosen Panama so that many young people who do not have the financial means have the opportunity to live this experience."

The way of the pilgrim

The WYD of Buenos Aires was the beginning of a pilgrimage for Adolfo Araúz, who had the opportunity to attend two more WYDs: Rome in 2000, in which he led the delegation and Toronto in 2002, which was the first time that the delegation prepared following a formation itinerary for more than a year in order to live the experience to the fullest.
After having attended three WYDs and being part of the preparation of the delegations that attended the following WYDs that have taken place, the trajectory of Adolfo Araúz has become invaluable and he is currently contributing his knowledge to the team that makes up the Pastoral Leadership of WYD 2019. With this team he prepared the handbook for the 12 Preparatory Catechetical Sessions, a task that fills him with pride because the Ministry of Education of Panama endorsed it to be a study text in religion classes nationwide.
It is clear that for Araúz, there is a before and after WYD and he knows that each pilgrim and volunteer who participates undergoes a positive transformation and hopes that the Panamanian youth will not be the exception.