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PANAMA CITY – World Youth Day officially starts today. The Laudato si’ volunteers along with the Franciscan brothers have been given their duties to bring Pope Francis’ message to the world

Starting the day with laudes, the volunteers were guided to meditate on our service and frame our minds to focus on our mission at World Youth Day. Then, the volunteers were briefed on our duties, equipped with our materials and prepared our spaces.

Laudato si’ will be celebrated in three zones: Parque Omar, Colegio Internacional Maria Inmaculada and various Youth Festival stages.  Through these exhibitions, pilgrims will be encouraged to commit to living Laudato si’ and start conversations on ecological conversion to recognise God in creation in their own countries.

Today, the volunteers based in Parque Omar led pilgrims to pray the rosary using recycled tyres and prepared the space for pilgrims to enjoy an art exhibition. Pilgrims were happy to charge their cellphones using solar energy through our charging booths. Likewise, the volunteers of Colegio Internacional Maria Inmaculada prepared the Laudato si’ village where pilgrims could meditate and learn more about the encyclical. The volunteers and friars finished the day just as how we started it – praising the Lord. Together with other World Youth Day volunteers and pilgrims, the day was closed by celebrating mass with the Archbishop of Panama, Monsignor Jose Domingo Ulloa at Cinta Costera. In his homily, the Monsignor Ulloa welcomed the pilgrims and focussed on the need to take advantage of World Youth Day to catalyse youth action on climate change.

By: Dewy Sacayan