World Youth Day: Reflections


Xavier students in Panama during World Youth Day 2019. Photo courtesy of Bruce Wyman, Xavier Honors Physics teacher.

Chloe Ann Porter, Club Writer

World Youth Day, a mass said by the Pope and event for youth all around the world, occurs every four years. Most schools usually fly out their youth about seven days prior to the Mass to participate in talks, go to music festivals, carnivals and catechesis all in the name of God. For this trip, Xavier arrived in Panama on a Sunday and took tours of the Panama Canal, the Biodiversity Museum and downtown Panama City. The students also attended talks and seminars, music concerts and concluded each night with a reflection of the day, where stating their highs and lows. Each day started with Mass and most of the transportation was done by foot or metro. For the vigil walk, which was the second to last day, the Xavier retreatants walked about eighteen miles to camp in a field and woke up in the morning to have Mass with the Pope. At the end of the Mass, after the Pope gave the final blessing, he announced the location of the next World Youth Day in 2022: Lisbon, Portugal.

Senior Sarah Fox, who attended World Youth Day comments that “The World Youth Day experience is surreal. Imagine walking down a highway with 600,000 Catholics. Waving flags from all around the world, singing in different languages, and dancing different cultures’ praise and worship dances. This is World Youth Day. Sweaty, tired, aching muscles all masked with smiles and kind hearts. On my trip, I met people from all around the world that I still keep in touch with. I have made friends that I would consider family and we have arranged trips to see each other again soon. I have also built new relationships and strengthened old ones with my peers at Xavier. World Youth Day was a life-changing event for me, I felt my faith was strengthened on a level I never knew possible and I felt a deep and personal connection to God. I cannot wait to go to Portugal making it my third world youth day in a row.”

If attending this event sounds interesting to you, please check out this website to learn more information about the next World Youth Day.

Pope Francis waving to the teens at World Youth Day 2019. Photo courtesy of Bruce Wyman, Xavier Honors Physics teacher.