The President of the Republic arrives today in Panama to participate in the XXXIV World Youth Days and has on his agenda meetings with young Portuguese pilgrims and with his Panamanian counterpart, Juan Carlos Varela.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa will be in Panama until Sunday, at the invitation of his counterpart, on which day the pope will announce the next country to receive the World Youth Days (WYD), with the expectation that this event will be held in Portugal.
On Tuesday, the President of the Republic said he hoped and hoped to hear “from the mouth of Pope Francisco” on Sunday in Panama that the next World Youth Days in 2022 will be held in Lisbon.
“What I hope is not only to wait, what I desire is that on Sunday it is possible to hear from the mouth of the holy priest, Pope Francisco, the announcement that the next days, in June 2022, could be held in Lisbon, in Portugal, “said the President of the Republic, Marcelo de Sousa.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa also said that his visit to Panama will include a meeting with Portuguese pilgrims, and “probably” with Pope Francisco.
On Friday the president will take the road with the young people in the Santa Maria La Antigua field, Cinta Costera, and will have a meeting with the young Portuguese pilgrims.
The program also contemplates that Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa “attend a celebration in the cathedral restored by a Portuguese company, and then at the crucial moment that is the celebration of Sunday, the day on which the pope will say what is the location of the June 2022“.
Concerning a meeting with Pope Francis, Marcelo said: “Probably what will be is the meeting at the moment, or by the way, if that is the case, of the decision being the one we desire.”
The World Youth Days kicked off on Tuesday in Panama and run until the 27th when the Pope will announce whether the Portuguese candidature was chosen to organize the Journeys in 2022.
“It is not worth it to be anticipating the decision,” said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, noting that the Secretary of State for Youth, João Rebelo, and the mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina, will also travel to Panama.
This is the third international edition of the Days presided over by Pope Francisco, after Rio de Janeiro in 2013, and in Cracow in 2016.
The only pope to visit Panama until today was John Paul II in March 1983.
The organization of World Youth Days 2019 counts, at the start of the initiative, more than 100 thousand pilgrims from 156 countries, accompanied by 480 bishops and also has the participation of 300 Portuguese from 12 dioceses and six congregations and movements (Salesians, Neocatechumenal Way , Youth Teams of Our Lady, Vincentian Marian Youth, Schoenstatt and Focolare).
The Portuguese delegation also includes 30 volunteers and six bishops, including Manuel Clemente, Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, Joaquim Mendes, President of the Episcopal Commission of the Laity and Family and Auxiliary Bishop of Lisbon, José Cordeiro, Bishop of Bragança-Miranda, Manuel Felício, bishop of Guarda, Nuno Almeida, auxiliary bishop of Braga, and Virgílio Antunes, bishop of Coimbra.