– 13

– 12
January 9, 2019
– 14
January 7, 2019
I discovered WYD seven years ago when Madrid 2011 happened, since my neighbors attended it. However, I really only knew of it as this big event for young people. Then in 2013 my interest increased thanks to my Youth Group Coordinator, who attended Rio2013 as press. That’s how the idea got into my head: Why not go to the next one? This was an idea that three years ago seemed like an impossible dream because of costs. Yet, God had other plans, not just for myself but fo my community. We started organizing our attendance to WYD Krakow 2016. For me, 2015 was a complicated year, on personal, psychological, professional and spiritual levels. To have the chance to attend WYD focused on Mercy as a group leader was a blessing on all those previous aspects. I was not able to attend the Central Acts one day because I was sick. However, it was through that situation that I was able to see how God was showing me his Mercy through my host family. My host mother took me to the doctor and took care of me like I was her own daughter. I had the chance to share so much from other cultures and make unforgettable friendships. It wasn’t “getting to see the Pope”, though it is something many look forward to. It was being able to live a sort of Pentecost, to speak in one language that is God’s love among brothers and sisters of all nations. WYD has given me more than I could ever ask for. Two years ago I was able to attend the closing mass at the Field of Mercy and be able to hear Pope Francis announce my country’s name: Panama! There is nothing that can compare to that feeling. That is how another mission began: for WYD to take place in our small territory. This mission was more than confirmed when I was not only present to receive the Pilgrim Cross and Salus Populi Romani Icon on Palms Sunday last year in Rome, but also when I was selected to be part of the young people who will be carrying that same cross that has touched so many hands. I left a steady job to go on this great mission, and I hold no regrets. I currently work directly with the Executive Committee, and while I am not working in my career path, I continue to apply everything I learned at school, particularly the phrase of my favorite saint, Ignatius of Loyola: “In everything, love and serve the Lord.” Regardless of where the Lord if calling you, what matters is that you answer the call with love, joy, and courage, as our Mother Mary did, to serve Him and our neighbors, at the service of our home, the Church. I am infinitely grateful to God for the people He brings togethers through this project… because WYD s here and WE CAN DO THIS TOGETHER! Carla Polo, Panama