The Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime, his secretary, Fr Horacio Lopez, Fr Fabio Attard, General Councilor for Youth Ministry, Fr Natale Vitali, Councilor for the America South Cone Region, Fr Timothy Ploch, Councilor for the Interamerica Region, and Fr Filiberto González Plasencia, General Councilor for Social Communications, are in Panama, in fact.
In recent days, Renato Cursi, of the Salesian Youth Ministry Dicastery, also arrived in Panama and before traveling, he told ANS what activities are awaiting the youngsters of SYM and how they were preparing.
How are the preparations for WYD proceeding in Panama?
Many volunteers are already at work and preparations are proceeding with great enthusiasm. Strong bonds have already been established between the representatives of the various countries of the world taking part in the WYD.
What will the commitments of the young people of the SYM be?
The tasks of the SYM are truly many and will take place mainly in two places: one is the Don Bosco Technical Institute, while the other is the Don Bosco Basilica. We will begin on the morning of Wednesday, January 23, with a Forum that will bring together about 200 participants from 30 countries of all five continents. It will be a way to reflect on the theme of the WYD: “Here I am. I am the Lord's servant! Let it happen to me as You have said.” We will then continue with the Mass, presided by the Rector Major, at the Basilica. The celebration will begin at 2 pm, with more than 3,500 people expected. There will be the typical atmosphere of the oratory, with music, a joyful spirit and cultural presentations. At 6 pm we will meet for dinner, followed by the prayer vigil and, finally, the "good night" of the Rector Major.
Can we say that the WYD constitutes a continuation of the Synod?
Absolutely. In fact, we will continue with reflections on discernment and vocation. For this reason, always on the 23rd, there will be a moment of reflection with the Rector Major and Mother General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Mother Yvonne Reungoat, who will answer the kids' questions. We have collected the questions of the young and we have selected three for each, to be submitted to the Rector Major and to the Mother General. Finally, the following Friday, we will meet with 4-5 children, to write a message together, so as to transmit the experience of the SYM to the World Youth Day.