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World Youth Day (WYD) in Panama, and Pope Francis Visits Panama (22-27 January 2019)

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Some of our very close Panamanian friends (including one daughter who is participating in the Pope's Youth Conference) are in Poland this week for this very special event in their lives.

We hope that there are no untoward incidents during this conference, given the religious nature of the conference, the location, and the dignitaries who are attending.



Varela and first lady head to Pope’s youth conference

Posted on July 27, 2016 in Panama, World

Post Views: 52

AFTER A brief stopover in Milan Italy, to meet with businessmen and sign off on the compensation  deal with Finmeccanica  which papers over the irregularities in the $250 million  helicopter plot  initiated by Ricardo Martinelli, President Juan Carlos Varela and  his extended team headed for Poland,

He is accompanied by  Vice President Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado and First Lady  Lorena Castillo de Varela. They arrived in Krakow Wednesday  to participate in the Pope’s International Youth Conference.

Tthey will join the 1,500 Panamanian youths participating in the conference.

Varela and his entourage, including Panama Ambassador to Poland Enrique Zarak, were received by Poland President Andrzej Duda.

It was  was officially opened Tuesday and will run through Sunday.

The star guest, Pope Francis also arrived  Wednesday. It will be his  first visit of to Poland


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Next World Youth Day in Panama in 2019 - Pope

Pope Francis has announced that the next World Youth Day, the Catholic youth festival, will be held in Panama in 2019.

Pope Francis was speaking on the final day of his official five-day visit to Poland

"I am happy to announce that the next World Youth Day will take place in 2019 in Panama," he said at the end of a mass attended by over 2.5 million pilgrims near the city of Krakow in Poland.

It will be the first time a pope visits the Central American country since Pope John Paul II's trip there in 1983.

Pope Francis was speaking on the final day of his official five-day visit to Poland which included a trip to the concentration camp, Auschwitz.

Yesterday the Pontiff made an unscheduled stop at the church of St Francis of Assisi in Krakow to recite a prayer for peace.

He condemned the "devastating wave of terrorism" and war that has hit the world and urged a huge crowd of young people not to be indifferent to the suffering of others.


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Juan Carlos Varela: World Youth Day is a powerful call to young people for the construction of a better world

A few seconds after the Pope Francisco announced that the next venue of the World Youth Day (WYD) will be Panama in 2019, hundreds of young Panamanians broke out in joy and they dramatized a sea of fiesta waving flags of the country.

in the first rows of the Campus of Mercy - the space enabled in the outskirts of Krakow (Poland), where Francisco officiated at the closing mass- were sitting the President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela and the Vice-President, Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado.

After the announcement, Varela and his wife took to the stage to strengthen the hand of the Argentine Pontiff and to thank you for having chosen the country to host this event crowds.

"The people of Panama are proud that the Holy Father has recognized in our country, whose values of peace, dialog and coexistence are similar to those that carries the WYD," said the president of Panama, who is in Krakow, Poland, from Wednesday 27.

Varela recognized that "it is an event of multiple implications for the country" and stressed the availability of the Panamanian Government in support to the archdiocese of Panama "where it considers this necessary".

"WYD is a powerful call to young people for the construction of a better world," he added.

Logistical implications

World Youth Days are events of great proportions, with the participation of 1.5 million to 4 million people, whose development requires a complex organization after that should provide to the host city of all the logistical resources necessary for the multitudinous event.

The current WYD that has developed in Krakow from 26 to 31 of the month of July is an example of the services that should offer the city of Panama in 2019. One of the main challenges that have confronted the Polish city are the services of transport for the pilgrims can move without problems.

The President of Panamá and his wife took to the stage, following the announcement by the Pontífice in Krakow.

As reported by the organizers, both the frequency and the number of urban transport is considerably increased : a total of 580 buses and trams 250 transported to an average of 57 thousand passengers per hour.

In addition, were placed extra buses which ran through the main locations where it developed the events linked to the WYD while automobile traffic was reduced.

In some areas of the center of the city was entirely suspended the traffic, making them pedestrian. This, to encourage the use of public transport.

The Government of Poland introduced a special ticket for pilgrims with unlimited travel valid from 26 to 31 for a lower price of $4.


The presence of the pope is a key element that adds an important component of security measures, whose guidelines are issued in the first place by the Vatican.

Agents of the Gendarmerie of the Vatican, in coordination with the Polish police forces, inspected the city of Krakow days before it began the WYD to draw attention to the points which were going to gather the largest number of people because I was going to be the pontiff.

For its part, the Polish Government available during the entire month of July 20 thousand police officers, 8 thousand firemen and thousand 500 border police to ensure security for the event.

The Pope Francisco announced on Sunday that Panama will be in 2019 the headquarters of the next edition of the World Youth Day, in a mass celebrated in Poland in the presence of the Panamanian president Juan Carlos Varela.

The 19 thousand volunteers who participated in WYD were trained with safety courses taught by the police and firefighters. Seventeen helicopters and two military aircraft completed the security system with aerial surveillance.

Also, there were medical units of evacuation, equipped with 20 ambulances, in eight air bases close to Krakow airport, which allowed the transfer of 80 people at the same time.

Poland temporarily restored the controls at its borders of the European Community, in ports and airports, with the objective of enhancing security before the visit of the Pope. The arrival and entry of pilgrims to the Schengen area was made through mobile registration points. There were additional lanes, eight in total, in the border between Poland and Ukraine.

In the airports operated additional checkpoints along with diplomatic services of other countries. It also developed specific procedures for cases related to the loss of documentation in order to manage interim documents to facilitate the return home of those who had lost their belongings. Another of the challenges it has faced Krakow was give accommodation to the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who came to the city on the occasion of the WYD.

The Organizing Committee prepared various packages that vary depending on the period of the stay of the pilgrim in the World Youth Day.

The price for the accommodation, food, transport, medical insurance and kit of the pilgrim minimum during a week in Krakow was about $220. Offered two types of accommodation: with families and community housing (for example, in schools, gymnasiums, small areas of camping).

The percentage of pilgrims who chose the package of stay in family home was 60%, while the other 40% is composed of pilgrims who chose community accommodations.

The organization of the WYD requested all pilgrims, beyond the type of stay selected, to bring a sleeping bag and a mat.

Finally, were launched works aimed at the creation of telecommunications infrastructure and the creation of channels of communication between the staff and volunteers. One of the most important channels of communication for the participants of the World Youth Day was the free phone information for those who come from the outside and the Pilgrim application for mobile phones.


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A prior posting on this same general subject was merged with this topic for continuity purposes. We now know why President Varela, the vice president, and the first lady were personally attending the Pope's Youth Conference in Krakow this month -- as the host for the next such conference in three years.

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Panama is a very little country with no more of 4 millions people and if there will be 1 million visitor can you imagine the logistics problem the organization should face.  One million visitors is about 25% of the actual population of Panama.   

Where it will be held?   There is not place in the metropolitan area of Panama to accomodate such amount of people so where it will be held in Panama??  According to the first information given looks like the place for such reunion will be in the area surrounding the Rio Hato Airport close to the beaches of Farallon, Playa Blanca, etc.  In the airport area there is enough space to accomodate a stage and a place for people to place their tents and sleeping bags.

So the optimistic people in Panama says that we got 3 years to organize and plan this activity and address all the logistics needed in terms of transportation, food, toilets, water, security, etc.   The Tocumen airport will have by that time available for use the new Southern Terminal and there must be an increase in the personnel at the airport to receive the million people that will travel here.

I hope to be alive to see it.  Well done.


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On 7/28/2016 at 8:40 AM, Bud said:

Some of our very close Panamanian friends (including one daughter who is participating in the Pope's Youth Conference) are in Poland this week for this very special event in their lives.

We hope that there are no untoward incidents during this conference, given the religious nature of the conference, the location, and the dignitaries who are attending.

Fortunately there were no untoward incidents in Poland during this event, and our friends have now safely returned to Boquete.

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Panama to host Pope’s World Youth Day

Posted on July 31, 2016 in Panama, World

Post Views: 118

PANAMA  will be the next host of World Youth Day (WYD) in 2019.

The widely anticipated  announcement  came from Pope Francis   minutes before the end of this year’s celebration in Krakow, Poland and the 1,500 strong Panamanian delegation erupted in glee.

pope 1

“With joy I announce that the next World Youth Day  will be in 2019 in Panama, “said the Argentine pontiff after praying the Angelus before more than one million people.


The hundreds of young Panamanians who occupied the front rows of the Campus of Mercy on the outskirts of Krakow during the closing Mass burst into cheers.

It is the first time that Central America  will be the host of the Catholic event.

Brazil hosted the WYD in  2013 in Rio de Janeiro in which about 3.7 million people participated.

It is considered the second most massive WYD in history after the event  in Manila, Philippines, drew  5 million people.

In 1987, the Buenos Aires, Argentina, also hosted the activity.

The carrying of the cross is a central theme at WYD

The carrying of the cross is a central theme at WYD

WYD in several respects transcends its religious significance. The global importance of World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro was reflected, among other features by  the appearance this year,  for the second time, of the  image of Francisco on  the cover of the international edition of Time magazine under the title “The People’s Pope.”

World Youth Day was created in 1984, when after the conclusion of the Holy Year of Redemption, John Paul II delivered a wooden cross four meters high to youth inviting them to take it  worldwide.

Since it has been held in Rome (1985), Buenos Aires (1987), Santiago de Compostela (Spain) in 1989; Czestochowa (Poland) in 1991; Denver (Colorado, (USA) in 1993; Manila in 1995, Paris in 1997; Rome again during the Jubilee 2000, and Toronto (Canada) in 2002.

It was held  In Cologne (Germany) in 2005 in Sydney (Australia) in 2008; in Madrid (Spain) in 2011, in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in 2013 and in Krakow (Poland) 2016.

It is a form of redemption For President Juan Carlos Varela who with his wife has been widely lampooned for his seeming obsession with chasing the Pope. But, if the event is held after July 1 2019 Varela will miss out as greeter in chief as  his successor  will be in office.

Concerns have  also been raised over the country’s ability to provide enough buses to transport the hundreds of thousands of visitors during the event. It is a challenge that the Tourism Authority, with declining visitors, looks forward to meeting


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Numbers limited for Panama World Youth Day

Posted on July 31, 2016 in Panama

Panamanians celebrate in Krakow
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PANAMA’S HOSTING of the 2019 World Youth Day, announced by Pope Francis in Krakow on Sunday July 31 will not be the four million extravaganza visualized by some proponents.

The four day event in other countries has drawn millions from nearly 200 countries around the world, with The Philippines topping the bill with over five million.

With its traffic clogged streets and limited public transport, Panama’s event is likely to be a much more modest affair.

The Apostolic Nuncio of the Vatican in Panama, Andrés Carrascosa Coso, said on Sunday July 31 on  TVN-2.that the number of expected will be something the city  could cope with  around  300,000,  making it the smallest event since it was introduced by Pope Paul ll.


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News Room Panama really should do a better job of proofreading their copy before it goes into print. I refer to the highlighted date below. In the title, no less!



Cardinal says Panama ready for Pope’s global event

Posted on July 31, 2016 in Panama

Archbishop Ulloa and Cardinal Lacunza
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PANAMANIAN CARDINAL, Jose Luis Lacunza took aim at skeptics on Sunday July 29 [sic]. affirming that  that Panama will be able to organize the World Youth Day  and gave as an example the expansion of the Panama Canal.

Saying that “’The World Youth Day set  for 2019, will improve Panamanian society.

At a press conference in Krakow, Poland, soon after Pope Francis named Panama as the location for the next event ,Lacunza said: ” Panamanians have not only been able to manage the Canal, but to expand the Canal, taking on the challenge that Panama remains the bridge of the world and the heart of the universe. And in this case it will be the bridge in the world and the heart of the universe for the youth of the world, but in a very special way in Latin America, ”

Lacunza  stressed that both the “central” geographical position of Panama with  “good communications” by  both by air and land facilitate access for Central American countries like Mexico  and regions  such North and South America.

“Having this facility we want to be a revitalization of youth in  Panama and throughout Latin America.

Metropolitan Archbishop of Panama José Domingo Ulloa who led Panama’s  candidacy was supported by the Episcopate of Central America, said  that the celebration of World Youth Day in Panama will be a “balm” for young people who lead excluded  lives doomed to poverty and migration, people trafficking and  drug trafficking.

On the reasons why the Pope chose Panama, Ulloa said that it is “going to the periphery of these youths, thirsting for opportunities.”


“Panama was the first diocese on the American mainland, founded on September 9, 1513 in this small country that has always been a bridge for all in the world of communication. It was spreading the faith throughout the Americas through thousands and thousands of missionaries, “he said.

Panama layman Victor Chang, a member of the organizing committee, revealed that when the proposal was presented to Panama, it had “already made a first assessment of capabilities.”

“We had many plans in mind and waited for the confirmation of the Holy Father to begin to realize things. It’s going to be a feast for Panamanians and for everyone,” he added.

The press conference ended with an effusive invitation to all young people to participate in World Youth Day 2019.


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Pope’s support message for Panama event

Posted on August 3, 2016 in Panama

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WHILE  some skeptics remain critical of Panama playing  host to the World Youth Day in 2019, Pope Francis has  given  words of encouragement to the country’s Catholic religious leaders.

“Do not be afraid and continue with the preparations,” he told Cardinal José Luis Lacunza, Panama Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa and Colón Bishop Ochogavía Manuel Barahona during an audience  at the Vatican before they returned to Panama.

Panama’s bid to host the event was presented to the Holy See with the endorsement of the Episcopal Conferences of Central America and with the strong endorsement of President  Juan Carlos Varela and the First Lady who were portrayed as “Papal groupies“  by local cartoonists  while they were in  Krakow, Poland for  the last rakow, Poland for  the last Youth Day.

Lacunza said  that they will request an opening of borders to the pilgrims to facilitate connections. That bid focused on Panama’s location as a prime spot to host the event.

“We want to involve the countries of Central America, through the government of Panama,” the cardinal said.

Ulloa stressed that the event will help to remove “the exclusion and the marginality” of youths in Central America.

“It will show them that there are opportunities,” he said.


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OFF THE CUFF $1 million for crowd control barriers

Posted on January 11, 2017 in Off The Cuff

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PERHAPS planning ahead for the visit of Pope Francis  in 2019,or the return of ex-president Ricardo Martinelli, Panama’s Ministry of Security has approved $1 million to buy metal barriers to control crowds.

A public tender for the purchase of 10,000 of the barriers.

Companies interested in the contract must present their proposals by Jan 18.


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Pope’s visit a Panama promo opp


Tourism  promotion and shopping opportunities  are combining with religious fervor in Rome as  a Panama delegation prepares for the official handing over of the cross that will be carried to Panama when it hosts  World Youth Day (WYD)  in 2019.

Young Panamanians involved in Youth Day planning

Young Panamanians involved in Youth Day planning

Accompanying a delegation of young Catholics who will be involved in preparing for the event were First Lady Lorena Castillo, and Tourism Minister Gustavo Him.

Castillo traveled with President Juan Carlos Varela  to the last  Youth Day in Krakow, Poland where they actively lobbied Pope Francis to get the next event in Panama,

Him, in a city that receives  up to 10 million visitors a year,   delivered his pitch on what Panama has to offer to those attending the event.

He reviewed the climate, connectivity, safety and medical assistance that will be relevant to pilgrims traveling to the country.

Varela, Pope Francis, Castillo

Varela, Pope Francis, Castillo

It was presented in the framework  of a ceremony “From Krakow to Panama-the Synod with Youth, coordinated by an  organ of the Holy See that finalizes the organizational details of Catholic mega events.

One of the aspects addressed was the processing of visas for registered pilgrims.

“We are working on speeding up visa procedures. When the inscriptions open It is expected that there will be a section with all the information. to solve any eventuality that arises , “said Marien Calviño, who serves as an intermediary between the Archdiocese of Panama and the Government

She said  that during the time of  the WYD “All public and private hospitals will be on green alert and open to attend to the Pilgrims “.

In 2019 the country is expected to have 1,320 points with free wifi connection, of which more than 350 will be in Panama.

Him said that the Government has begun talks with different airlines to establish direct flights “with special prices only for those  registered in the WYD”.

Him also specified that an increase in surveillance and security in areas where major events will  take place.



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Panama receives World Youth Day cross


A GROUP  of young Panamanians received  a four meter cross that has traveled the world for 33 years  since Pope John Paul II gave it to the youth of Rome  at the end of the  1984 Holy Year of Redemption.

The cross is destined for Panama and the World Youth  Day (WYD)  in 2019  and was handed  over by the the youth of Krakow, Poland, site of the last WYD.

The cross will reach the isthmus after being carried through a number of Latin American countries, starting with Mexico says Archbishop Domingo Ulloa Mendieta,

From Mexico it will descend through all the countries of Central America on a route marking    the route in the other direction of migrants and drawing attention to marginalized youth, victims of drug and human trafficking.

The cross will arrive in Panama in the middle of May. The cross will arrive in Panama Mid-May. Where it will remain  before starting a tour of the Caribbean.



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Moderator comment: Take note of the text that I highlighted just below the image.



Opportunity knocks for Panama tourism boss


PANAMA’S capital city will more than double its current population during the World Youth Day (WYD) according to the administrator of the Tourism Authority of Panama, Gustavo Him.

Him, sees the event for which President Juan Carlos Varela and First Lady Lorena Castillo actively lobbied Pope Francis during the last event in Krakow, Poland. as an opportunity to put  Panama front and center as a tourist destination, and is currently in Rome beating the drum while ecclesiastical delegates are focusing on the religious symbolism of the event  with the passing of a  four meter  wooden cross to representatives of Panama’s Catholic youth.

The presentation was at  a weekend event  titled “From Krakow to Panama the Synod

With the Youth “, coordinated by the Vatican team  that finalizes organizational details of Catholic mega events.

Meanwhile Him had his own promotional team  including dancers in traditional costume.

At , the headquarters of the Pontifical International College Maria Mater Ecclesiae,  Him  gave his tourism pitch: “It is going to be an event that will give us the opportunity to exhibit the benefits of Panama before the world. This is an occasion of unique tourism promotion in life, which will relaunch the country as an international holiday destination”

Transportation challenge
In his optimistic assessment of the benefits  to Panama  he gave some    technical details relating to the week long inflow of hundreds of thousands of visitors including security, public health and transportation.

“We have an advantage, because our country is smaller than Where World Youth Day has been held before”  he told La Prensa, but  warned: “On the days on which this Catholic event will be held traffic will not be workable and therefore will be reduced.”

He said that  one of the most obvious concerns in the previous WYD was the issue of transport and therefore we are focusing on solving this problem. We are also working to provide medical care to all pilgrims.”

“….It is the responsibility of the Church to organize the WYD, But the Government is its strategic partner.”

He told La Prensa that forecasts indicate that there will be about 500,000 pilgrims, “but I have a feeling that  we are going to surpass that number. Panama has a strategic geographical position and that  many Latin Americans will  participate.”

Meanwhile   local residents who traditionally flee the capital city  during Carnival, may already be planning their WYD exodus.



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Scam artists prepare for Pope’s visit

Signatures of local priests have been falsely used

WITH OVER 20 months to go before  World  Youth Day  in Panama, including the visit of Pope Francis, scam artists are already at work trying to raid the wallets of businesses and individuals.

They are using doctored letterheads  and false signatures  while  claiming to raise funds to enable poor children tp attend events.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Panama has issued  a warning to citizens, especially companies, to be alert to false requests.

These scams “take advantage of massive Catholic events to present a false need for support,” say a a statement from the Archdiocese.

The communique said that neither the Catholic Church nor the local organizing committee will request donations in the name of a private individual . Citizens and companies were asked to contact the Archbishop of Panama at 229-­2923 if they receive a questionable request.



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to World Youth Conference in Panama, and Pope Francis Visits Panama (22-27 January 2019)
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Theme Song for World Youth Day Panama 2019 is Released

PANAMA, JULY 3 rd , 2017. With tropical Panamanian rhythms and inspired by the event´s theme, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word," (Luke 1,38), the theme song for the XXXIV World Youth Day Panama 2019 was released during the Cena de Pan y Vino – a traditional annual event in the Archdiocese of Panama to raise funds for the San José Mayor Seminary.

The Archbishop of Panama, José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, said that, "the theme song is a call to become disciples and missionaries in these times, following the example of the Virgin Mary". He added, "We are excited to make this song available to young people around the world, so when they sing it, they may find joy and allow themselves to be transformed by God."

The song was composed by Abdiel Jiménez, a catechist and psalmist of the Cristo Resucitado (Resurrected Christ) Parish in San Miguelito, Panama City. He is also the author of many liturgical songs and participates in various choirs. He graduated from the School of Religious Sciences at the Universidad Santa María La Antigua (USMA).

The hymn was chosen through a selection process that made a public call for submissions. A jury, comprised of renowned professionals from the music industry, narrowed down the selection of 56 songs to three finalists. The Executive Committee for WYD, along with the participation of the Pontifical Council for Laity, Family and Life in Rome, selected Mr. Jiménez's composition as the event's theme song.

A local musical production team of seasoned specialists worked together to arrange and produce the official version. Aníbal Muñoz, Carlos Samaniego and Ricky Ramírez collaborated to create the recording that was released today.

World Youth Day is a gathering that brings young people from around the world together with each other and the Pope in a festive, religious and cultural atmosphere, which displays the vitality of the Church and affirms the contemporary message of Jesus Christ. It is held every three years and the last one took place in Krakow in 2016. The dates for WYD Panama 2019 are January 22 to 27, 2019.

The aim of WYD is to encourage a personal encounter with Christ, who transforms our lives; to promote peace, unity and fraternity among the peoples and nations of the world, through the youth as ambassadors to all humankind.

Follow our official English language social media accounts: Facebook: @WorldYouthDay Twitter: @wyd_en Instagram: @panama2019 Flickr: Panama 2019 (Our Flickr account shares photographs of the most relevant WYD events for public use.)



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Panama reveals 2019 WYD's theme song: Latin rhythms and catchy music


The World Youth Day of Panama 2019 already has a theme song and it sounds like this:

"Behold the handmaid of the Lord..."

The song is written by Abdiel Jiménez, a catechist in Panama. He won the contest out of which 55 other theme song proposals were submitted.

The organization will prepare a music video to coincide with the song, but in the meantime, it has released this video to help youth memorize the lyrics and ignite excitement.

The song unites melody and lyrics with the motto of this celebration: "Let it be to me according to your word." The author says that it is based on three great concepts: Our Lady, evangelization and the joy that must be present in the life of every Christian which will then leave a mark on the hearts of those who participate in this biggest Catholic world event.



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