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World Youth Day, one of the biggest events in the Catholic world is coming to Panama, Jan. 23-27, including a visit from Pope Francis.
Hundreds of thousands of youths from all over the world are traveling to Panama for the event, which was started by Pope John Paul II in 1986. More than 2.5 million people reportedly attended the last World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, in 2016.
The event features a wide variety of activities, including music and variety shows. But the highlight is the visit from the Pope, who is scheduled to arrive Thursday, July 24. The biggest event will be Sunday when the Pope will host Holy Mass.
Beyond the significance in the Catholic world, the event will turn the world spotlight on Panama. Most of the large activities will take place on the Cinta Costera, the beautiful waterfront park.
The event will also represent one more sign of Panama’s growing prominence and its ability to host such a large scale event will send an important message around the globe. It is a monumental organizing effort that will shine a light on the openness and hospitality of the Panamanian people. Many of the thousands of visitors will be on a pilgrimage to Panama and they will connect with local families.
During his visit, the Pope is expected to visit a Good Samaritan shelter and consecrate a colonial-era basilica that recently was restored.