The World Youth Day (WYD) will officially begin this Tuesday in the Panamanian capital, one day before the arrival of Pope Francis, with a mass officiated by the Archbishop of Panama, who is ready to receive "all who come" to listen to the message of the holy father.
The Santa María La Antigua field, a space on the emblematic marine promenade of the Panamanian capital known as Cinta Costera, will be the scene of this holy opening Mass that will be in charge of Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa.
"We are ready to welcome all those who come," said Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela on Monday during a tour of the Cinta Costera, where he witnessed the raising of the flags of the countries participating in WYD.
This modern space of the Panamanian capital is located in front of the peaceful Bay of Panama and mixes luxury buildings and shops, which has been conditioned with a giant platform and large screens to receive the Pope, thousands of pilgrims, faithful Catholics and public in general.
The local organization of WYD expects the arrival of at least 100,000 pilgrims from all over the world who have completed their registration at the event, of which 36,000 are already in the country, which has set in motion a broad security device that involves At least 30,000 agents.
On Monday, groups of young pilgrims swarmed the flags of their countries, mostly from Central and South America.
Between Monday and next Wednesday, the arrival of the bulk of pilgrims is expected, said members of the local organizing committee at a press conference.
The new Terminal 2 (T2) of Tocumen International Airport, the country's main terminal, which has been partially enabled for WYD, opens this afternoon five doors to receive flights with pilgrims, who are also entering through the land border with Costa Rica, and by sea.
Varela said on Monday "very happy, eager to hear" the message of Francisco, "and especially his visit, which brings much faith and hope to the Central American region.
The Panamanian president will receive next Wednesday the Pope Francisco in Tocumen T2, in a ceremony "quite simple but very symbolic" that includes the attendance of about 2,000 people, revealed Monday the Panamanian vice chancellor, Luis Miguel Hincapié.
The airport's regular operations "will stop to give priority to the holy father until it reaches the platform of the new T2," said Tocumen Operations Manager Claudio Dutary, who added that the normal pace of the terminal will be resumed once. that the supreme pontiff has left the place.
The Pope, who will close WYD next Sunday, will officiate Masses, visit detention centers and foster homes, among other official activities, in which he will call for opportunities for all young people of Central America, the archbishop said. José Domingo Ulloa.
The problems of young people, especially those of Central America with the drama of migration, but also a look at the defense of ecology will be the topics to which the Pope will refer during WYD.
Francisco will give 10 speeches, including 3 homilies and an Angelus, during his visit, the second of a Pope to Panama after that of Juan Pablo II in 1983 in which he was only one day, and Jorge Bergoglio's first to this country .
President Varela has argued that the WYD of Panama is in fact an event of the entire region of Central America, which receives Francisco convulsed by the phenomenon of migrant caravans to the United States.