Prayer is at the heart of Christian life. When we pray, we raise our minds and hearts to God. Prayer is our response to God’s call. As Catholics, we call to mind Mary’s response to God’s call with what Pope Francis calls “a brave and generous yes” in his message to young people for this year’s World Youth Day. Download a World Youth Day Mini Magazine with history, information, a prayer, and activities for children to share in your parish, school, or home in preparation for World Youth Day 2019. The printable World Youth Day Mini Magazine is available in English and Spanish.
Building a Foundation of Faith
The home is a child’s first school of prayer. Children first learn to pray at home and are supported and encouraged to pray as they grow, by catechists and teachers in their school or parish and as they pray with community and the Church. In these familiar environments, the young people in our communities are able to build on this foundation. They connect with the Church on a local level and learn about the Church in the world. They can listen for and respond to God’s call by putting their faith to work in service to God and others.
What is World Youth Day
Young people have a special annual event in the Church just for them. Each year, they are invited to come together to celebrate World Youth Day. World Youth Day celebrates young people and prepares them to become missionary disciples. Pilgrimage, an essential component of World Youth Day, is a reminder that Catholic young people are on a journey of faith, like those who have come before them. It is also an opportunity for young people to encounter – face to face and in real life – the Catholic community. Every year, young Catholics gather from all over the world to reflect on, share, celebrate, and proclaim their faith in God.
The Beginnings of World Youth Day
During the Holy Year of the Redemption, Pope John Paul II decided to share a special Palm Sunday gathering with Catholic young people. Those planning the celebration anticipated 60,000 children and adolescents to make the pilgrimage. Instead, 250,000 arrived to celebrate! The following year was named an International Year of Youth. Once again, children were invited to participate in Palm Sunday Mass in Rome with the Pope. Once again, the attendance exceeded expectations.
It was announced that World Youth Day would be celebrated every year. The first World Youth Day was celebrated in 1986 as a diocesan celebration in Rome on Palm Sunday. The following year it was celebrated on an international level in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The tradition of inviting the youth to gather together to share sacraments, prayer and commitment to their faith in unity together has continued on for decades in various countries across the globe.
World Youth Day is now an event that happens each year. The goal of World Youth Day is to inspire young people with the message of Jesus Christ. Every few years, a large international meeting is held in which young people from all over the world gather together with the Pope to attend catechesis, cultural events, to pray, and to celebrate. The last World Youth Day event was held in Krakow, Poland in in 2016.
World Youth Day Panama 2019
The next international meeting of World Youth Day will be held in Panama from January 22nd to January 27th, 2019.
The theme for the World Youth Day Panama 2019 is Mary’s response to God’s call: "I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38). This theme is an opportunity to reflect on vocation and being at the service of God and others. Pope Francis reminds us in his message to young people for World Youth Day that this theme does not mean that we must be ready only to act, but also to listen: “to be in conversation with God, with an attitude of listening, just like Mary.”
Over the course of these days, several events will take place. Young people are invited to participate in a welcoming Mass during the opening ceremony. Throughout the day there will be opportunity for prayer, music, shows, reconciliation and catechism sessions with local bishops. Pope Francis will arrive and share a special address with the world’s youth. Stations of the Cross will be held as well as a walking pilgrimage to a special vigil site. During the closing ceremony, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass with all in attendance and the host for the next World Youth Day will be announced.
Eight patron saints have been named as intercessors for those making the journey to Panama. These saints have been chosen because they have had a special relationship with the youth. As children and adolescents across the globe prepare for their journey to Panama, they can pray to these saints for guidance and support.
- Saint John Bosco
- Sister Romero Meneses
- Saint Óscar Romero
- Saint John Paul II
- Saint Joselito
- Saint Juan Diego
- Saint Rosa of Lima
- Saint Martín de Porre
Ways to Participate in World Youth Day 2019 from Your Home or Classroom
Pilgrims from all over the world will travel to Panama to be part of the international celebration of World Youth Day. Parishes and schools and the children, young people, and families they serve can be part of the celebration, too, even if they can’t be in Panama! Here are some ideas to prepare for World Youth Day Panama 2019.
Ideas for Directors and Principals:
Educate teachers and catechists about World Youth Day and encourage them to visit the official web site, https://panama2019.pa/en so that they can share information and elements of World Youth Day with their students.
Schedule a World Youth Day inspired event that brings together children, young people, and families in your school or parish. Stream World Youth Day events via live broadcast, or put together your own event using the official prayers, music, and theme of World Youth Day 2019.
Ideas for Catechists:
Share the World Youth Day 2019 mini magazine to teach students about World Youth Day and explore the official web site, https://panama2019.pa/en.
Share about the lives of the eight patron saints of World Youth Day 2019.
Talk in your religious education class about what it means to be a “servant of the Lord.”
Incorporate the official prayer of World Youth Day into your prayer celebrations.
Ideas for Families:
Read Scripture together. Share the Gospel of Luke and discuss the World Youth Day theme from Luke 1:38.
Pray the official prayer of World Youth Day as a family and pray for those on pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Panama.
Follow what’s happening at World Youth Day on social media, using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Youtube using the hashtag #panama2019.
At World Youth Day in Paris, France in 1997, Pope John Paul II said "Dear young people, your journey does not end here. Time does not come to a halt. Go forth now along the roads of the world, along the pathways of humanity, while remaining ever united in Christ's Church!" This message rings more than twenty years later as young people prepare to celebrate World Youth Day 2019 and respond to God’s call as missionary disciples in the modern world.
Download a World Youth Day Mini Magazine with history, information, a prayer, and activities for children to share in your parish, school, or home.