“You Are God’s Now” – 34th World Youth Day in Panama

[Province of Warsaw] “You are not the future, you are not in the ‘meantime’, but you are God’s now,” said Pope Francis during the Holy Mass on the 34th World Youth Day held January 27 at John Paul’s II field in Metro Park in Panama City.

January 18-29, 2019 a pilgrimage of a delegation of the Vincentian Family from Poland took place to the 34th World Youth Days in Panama. In attendance were Father Maciej Musielak, C.M., National Director of VMY, Joanna Kielmas, representative of VMY, Kinga Zakrzewska Kinga, chairwoman of Young Vincentians group, Artur Sobolewski, a sympathizer of VMY and Sister Elżbieta Piętka, coordinator of the VMY of the Province of Warsaw.

The first stage of our gathering was San Jose’de Malambo, a service of the Daughters of Charity. During the Eucharist of the Vincentian Family the Miraculous Medal, whose reverse was the portrait of the Poor, was carried in the procession with gifts. It was an expression of the joy of the community of young Vincentians from so many continents drawn by the testimony of the love of St. Vincent, perceiving Christ in every human being, especially in the Poor.

There were three themes reflected on: the joy of being a Vincentian; the joy of proclaiming the Gospel and Mary, Mother of the Poor, based on selected fragments of the Gospel.

Common prayer, group meetings, and individual conversations, despite language barriers, gave us new strength and a hopeful look at our diverse ministry in the Vincentian spirit. A great advantage was the presence of our Father General TomažMavričand his availability, practically at all times, to talk, record a message, get interested in the other person next to him.

On Monday, January 21, we gathered in the city center to join in the meetings organized at the Parishes and on the Campus of Mercy with the possibility of prayer at the signs for World Youth Days. There was a separate vocation zone, which was very popular. The confessional boxes in the colors of World Youth Day made by prisoners made a great impression. The official opening ceremony of the Holy Mass under the leadership of Archbishop Panama intensified the joy of waiting for a meeting with the Holy Father. It is good to feel the power and enthusiasm of a powerful wave of young people. This is the most beautiful testimony and profession of faith, words then become unnecessary. Our outfits, the cassock, the habit, the flag, the emblem with the Medal were also a silent proclamation of the Gospel. Many people asked about our Little Company. It was nice when the majority could hear about Saint Vincent de Paul. On this occasion, we were handing out Miraculous Medals which they accepted with tenderness and gratitude.

There also was great joy when Pope Francis was passing by us and giving us His blessings before we got to the greeting Ceremony. It was one big celebration of the young, gathered in the name of Jesus at the side of his Mother in front of the beautiful statue of Mary, the patron of Panama. It is difficult to describe rich and varied experiences.

The most memorable words of the Pope, which I accepted as a motto are: “you are God’s now “. I am happy in the vocation of a Daughter of Charity, more consciously I want to make a gift of myself, that “love is in my everyday life, creative to infinity”. The Pope emphasized that “Jesus is not ‘in the meantime’ “, but there is merciful love, which wants to penetrate our hearts. He wants to be our treasure because Jesus is not a “meantime” in life or passing temporary fashion; he is self-giving love which invites us to give ourselves… The Gospel should express itself in the life of every Christian in a concrete love of self-giving, like Mary, who said, “Let it be done to me”.

In meditation during the Way of the Cross, Pope Francis encouraged us to “contemplate Mary, a strong woman. We want to learn from Her while standing under the cross. She could accompany the suffering of her Son, support Him with her gaze and protect Him with Her heart. She is a great guardian of hope”. From Her let us learn how to not lose spirit and start again in situations where everything seems to be lost.

Summing up the message to the young I will end with my answer to the question posed by the Holy Father – yes, I want to be an “influential person” in the style of Mary, who dared to say “let it happen to me.” After all, “only love makes us more human”.

Let our good God be glorified for the gift of our Immaculate Mother, for Her protection and goodness, which is accomplished through her mother’s heart, for the gift of our Vincentian Family, for each “VINCENTIAN” with whom we were able to meet.

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