THE Archdiocese of Brisbane has a strong tradition of offering a “Days in the Diocese” experience, which is a local experience that immediately precedes the World Youth Day week itself, as a part of our pilgrimage itinerary.
In January 2019, we are planning to take part in this experience again, this time with the Diocese of Santiago in Verguas, Panama.Verguas is one of 10 provinces in Panama and is the only province in the entire Republic of Panama to have coastland on the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The coastline on the Caribbean stretches nearly 60km and more than 350km on the Pacific side.
The diocese is also hoping to have many host families open their homes to accommodate pilgrims from around the globe.
For those who don’t get to experience the hospitality of a family, parish halls, schools, gyms and tents will be offered to pilgrims to spend time meeting and mingling with some of the other international guests. In the past, we have had a great response from pilgrims who have participated in this aspect of the World Youth Day pilgrimage.
We have found that our pilgrims get real hands-on experience of the cultural history of the place, as well as having a chance to personally build a relationship with some of the locals.
Often, pilgrims have continued the friendships and connections they have made with those they met during Days in the Diocese and have continued to stay in contact and even visit them again after they have returned home from World Youth Day itself.
The Days in the Diocese experience has been an opportunity for pilgrims to encounter and explore the richness of the Catholic Church within the host diocese for a World Youth Day.
It is an opportunity for pilgrims to meet and enjoy the hospitality of families and young people of the host country. The organisers from the Diocese of Santiago are looking to introduce international pilgrims to some of the phenomenal sites of natural beauty that their province offers. This may include a visit to an island in the Carribean, Escudo Veraguas, the national park at Santa Fé, and chasing picturesque waterfalls in La Yeguada Forest Reserve.
If you’ve ever wondered what the Latin American culture is like, or if you’re wanting to get to know a family or two from the other side of the world, then make sure you register your interest to attend World Youth Day with Brisbane archdiocese’s pilgrimage group.
Melissa Fenech is the Coordinator for the Brisbane pilgrimage to WYD2019, a project of the Brisbane archdiocese’s Youth Evangelisation Office.