The Vatican has confirmed the official dates for World Youth Day in Panama,, one of the largest events in the Catholic world.
The global event will be January 22-27, 2019 and is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to Panama. World Youth Day is typically held in July, but was switched to January to take advantage of Panama’s weather, officials said.
The Panama event will be historic and attract global attention. Panama was chosen in large part as a “bridge” to connect followers in North America and South America, according to Archbishop José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta of Panama, in announcing the dates.
Panamanians have a “very big heart” and “open to everybody,” but they also have “the capacity” to host the meeting, Cardinal Kevin Farrell told Crux, a Catholic media outlet.
World Youth Day is a unique and complicated event to host. Many of the pilgrims are traveling on a small budget and will need lodging, meals and transportation. Farrell also “highlighted the government’s commitment to making the event a success as part of a broader campaign to make Panama a hub connecting the Americas.” Crux reports.
“It’s important that we take into consideration the role this great nation can have in the historic unification of the countries from the north and the south,” Farrell said. “Many Panamanians are very excited to be able to, not only host this event, but be able to participate first hand”.