During the week of January 22, young people from all around the world will travel to Panama to celebrate World Youth Day with Pope Francis. It is a time of great joy and presents an opportunity to meditate on the Pope’s intention for this month, “That young people, especially in Latin America, follow the example of Mary and respond to the call of the Lord to communicate the joy of the Gospel to the world.”
“Rejoice! Joining her is joy.” These words are written on the banner carried by a young dancer in the north of Chile. He is one among the thousands of dancers who every July 16, for over more than two hundred years, make a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Virgin of la Tirana.
In other cities and villages, a great proportion of Latin Americans celebrate this jubilation of our faith. Following different musical rhythms and wearing different colors, the young people in our continent open themselves to the joy of the Lord. They know internally, that through the angel Mary received the Good News with joy and through the joy she was recognized as the mother of our Liberator.
This joy is more than a simple devotion: it is also our mission. Following the same Spirit that inspires Mary´s song of Praise, there are a large number of young people who answer yes to Jesus’ call to announce the Reign of God. They believe, with our Lady, that the joy that comes from God shows itself to the world in the way of Love and Justice.
– Juan Diego Galaz, S.J.
Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Ireland)