Pope Francis departs for World Youth Day in Panama

Pope Francis departed Wednesday Jan. 23 for Panama, where he will participate in the events of the 34th World Youth Day. This marks the pope’s first journey in 2019. Upon his arrival at Panama’s Tocumen International Airport, he will go directly to the Apostolic Nunciature, where he will stay for the duration of the visit.

His journey will get underway in earnest on Thursday Jan. 24 with an official welcome at the Presidential Palace and a meeting with authorities and diplomats. Later in the day, Pope Francis will meet with bishops from Central America. The highlight of Thursday, however, will be the opening of the World Youth Day ceremony at the Coastal Belt.

In a tweet before his departure, Pope Francis said, “I am leaving for the World Youth Day in Panama. I ask you to pray for this very beautiful and important event on the path of the Church.”

The theme for World Youth Day 2019 is taken from the Gospel of St. Luke: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

A group of youth and young adults from the Diocese of Charleston, S.C., are also attending World Youth Day. Follow them at facebook.com/DioceseChas and twitter.com/DioceseChas, and check out the Jan. 31 edition of The Catholic Miscellany for stories and photos http://themiscellany.org/subscribe/.

CNS photo/Vatican Media: Pope Francis tries on a scarf given to him by a reporter from Panama Jan. 23, 2019, aboard his flight from Rome to Panama for World Youth Day.