World Youth Day (WYD) is a celebration organized by the Catholic Church and it unites young people from more than 150 countries. It is characterized by the joy that young people bring to this very personal experience. During WYD 2019, participants can exchange experiences and learn from one another.
What is WYD?
WYD is an encounter of young people from all around the world with the Pope amidst a festive, religious, and cultural atmosphere, which confirms the dynamism of the Church and testifies the significance of Jesus in our lives. “WYD is much more than an event. It is a time of deep and spiritual renewal; its fruits benefit the whole of society” (Benedict XVI). It is an extraordinary way of evangelization to strengthen youth ministry. WYD is held every three years and the last one was held in Cracow (Poland) in 2016.
What is the purpose of WYD?
The initiator and first promoter of WYD was Saint John Paul II, who started this movement in order to enhance our personal encounter with Christ, which is life-changing. WYD also promotes peace, unity, and fraternity among people and nations, commissioning the youth as ambassadors of this message. Finally, WYD also develops methods of new evangelization for the youth.
How to Participate?
Event organizers and government officials have repeatedly said that in order to participate in most events, you must register in advance and receive tickets. There is only one official site for registration: https://www.panama2019.pa/en/registration-of-pilgrims/. Organizers and government officials have also noted that rather than registering as individuals, most people are registering through church groups.
Traveling to Panama:
The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends that before leaving the United States, travelers take a few minutes to sign up with STEP (the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program). STEP enrollment makes it easy for you to receive updated information about safety conditions and helps your family and you connect with the Embassy in case of an emergency. Enrollment is easy at https://step.state.gov/step/.
While every trip is different, we also recommend that in advance of traveling, you review the State Department’s Traveler’s Checklist at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/travelers-checklist.html.
The WYD “Pilgrim’s Package” may provide some medical coverage for registered participants. However, because insurance coverage and the medical infrastructure do not work identically in Panama and the U.S., the Embassy strong encourages participants to confirm or arrange for health insurance that will cover them while in Panama. For more information, please see https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/your-health-abroad.html.
To enter Panama for this event, travelers must comply with Panamanian visa requirements. For more information see https://www.migracion.gob.pa/. Note that U.S. passport holders do not require visas in advance of entering Panama for this trip.
As its name suggests, World Youth Day is a global event expected to bring over 100,000 pilgrims to Panama. This large influx of people will have an impact on availability of transportation, tourist services, and lodging. Travelers should expect that during WYD, the capital city and much of the country will be focused on the events surrounding the Pope’s visit, and that the resources that normally exist for tourists may not be available.
For additional information on visiting Panama, please see https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Panama.html
Please visit the official site of the World Youth Day for more information.