Pope Francis visited the juvenile prison in Pacora, Panama, on Friday, and urged young inmates to avoid being stuck with "labels" for their whole life and fight to "look for the paths of insertion and transformation."
Pope Francis wanted to take today the World Youth Day (WYD), the event for which he has traveled to Panama, to those young people who have not been able to celebrate it and thus return to deliver his message of hope for the inmates, something that he makes since the beginning of his pontificate.
To the 120 minors present, the Pope embrace them with his words and told them that they were "part of the family" and that they had "a lot to share," and asked them for help to let us "know what the best way is and accompany the process of transformation that, as a family, we all need."
"You, boys, those responsible for the custody, and the Center authorities, and the Ministry, and their families, as well as the pastoral agents. Everyone, fight and fight to find and look for paths to insertion and transformation ," "but do not fight among you," joked the Pope.
In the small penitentiary chapel, decorated with the WYD symbols that the same children have painted, a penitential liturgy was celebrated and twelve of them were confessed, three by Francisco, in the confessionals that these same young people have made in the prison workshops.
When commenting on the gospel they had just read, the Pope assured them that "Jesus is not afraid to approach those who, for countless reasons, carried on their backs with social hatred."
He criticized those who sick labels and signs on people and that "freeze and stigmatize not only the past but also the present and the future of people."
"Signs that, in short, the only thing they do is to divide: here we have the good ones and there the bad ones, here the righteous and there the sinners," so what, he lamented, "build up an invisible wall that makes us think that by marginalizing, separating, or isolating all the problems will magically be solved." "The gossip does not know how to party because his heart is bitter," Francisco added.
Therefore, the pope indicated to the boys and girls in detention that "each one of us is much more than his labels," and he told them that Jesus "challenges us with his gaze to ask and seek help to walk the paths of overcoming." "We all have a horizon, open the window and you will find it," he encouraged.
The boys, all male, except a group of six girls who came from another penitentiary, asked them not to listen and not to believe those internal "murmurings" that seem to win and make them believe that nothing will be overcome, said Francisco.
He told the children that "God considers them part of the family and says:" I can not leave you out in the exterior, I can not lose you on the way, I am here with you. Here? Yes, here."
And he asked them to trust in "the gaze of the Lord, who does not look at a sign or a condemnation, but he looks at children "and gives the strength to deny" disqualifications "and" murmurings.
The archbishop of Panama, Jose Domingo Ulloa, on Friday called on "all" Panamanians to participate in the activities of the World Youth Day (WYD) with Pope Francis, when there are complaints from the faithful against the authorities for not allowing them to access.
The exhortation, distributed by the WYD press team, indicates that "the important thing is that Pope Francis can feel the warmth of the entire Panamanian people in their activities, mainly at the Closing Mass, on Sunday, January 27, 2019." "Do not forget that this holiday belongs to everybody," emphasizes the prelate.
He said that "tickets are free and can withdraw their parishes or the same access to general admission, C, D, and E."
However, channel 2 TVN Media revealed this Friday that in the appointment of Thursday in the Santa Maria la Antigua field many faithful could not enter.
They explained that the security authorities prevented access to many people without any explanation, when there were empty spaces in the place, supposedly due to lack of authorization from the organizers.
On Sunday, the "Closing Mass" will celebrate in the Saint Jean Paul II camp, about 9 kilometers east of the capital, with a capacity for 750,000 people, where the pontiff is expected to direct his central message to the pilgrims to revitalize the church and announce the venue of the next WYD.
Some 350,000 people participated in the liturgy that took place on Thursday with Francisco in the Santa Maria la Antigua camp, according to reports from the Joint Interagency Task Force (FTC).
This Friday Jorge Mario Bergoglio will visit a prison for minors in the eastern periphery of the Panamanian capital, where he will travel by land, and from where he will return by helicopter to the Marcos Gelabert airport and from there he returns to the Apostolic Nunciature.
Then, in the afternoon, he will head the Via Crucis in the same field where on Thursday he presided the liturgy, and another massive participation is expected.