Francisco became the first Pope to step on Panamanian soil since 1983. On January 23, the streets of Panama City were transformed surrounded by people of many nationalities who accompanied the route of the Supreme Pontiff from the Tocumen International airport to the Apostolic Nunciature. Through a tour in the “Popemobile”, Francisco showed to thousands of pilgrims that he was present at World Youth Day 2019, which was hosted in the Isthmus.
The official welcome was held on January 24 when the President of the Republic, Juan Carlos Varela, received him at the “Las Garzas palace.” In the afternoon, the young people went to Campo Santa Maria La Antigua to meet Pope Francis and to listen to his speech. The Pope called for building bridges, not walls: "the father of lies, the devil, always prefers people being fractured and enemies. He is the division master and he fears people that learn to work together. This is a criterion to distinguish people as bridge builders or wall builders."
On January 25, Francisco was part of the Via Crucis, performed by a group of young people of the Americas, who showed the ills that the world is experiencing. "Jesus's path towards Calvary is a suffering and loneliness path that continues in our days. He walks, he suffers in so many faces the satisfied and anesthetizing indifference of our society. A society that consumes and consumes, that ignores its brother's pain We too, your friends, my lord, we are carried away by apathy, immobility. Conformism has won and paralyzed us. It has been difficult to recognize you in the suffering brother. We have turned our eyes not to see, we have taken refuge in the noise to not to hear, we cover our mouths to not to shout," said the Supreme Pontiff.
The vigil was the main event of the day previous to his departure. On January 26, Francisco gathered the young pilgrims in a new scenario: The Campo San Juan Pablo II. From there, he spoke of the Virgin Mary as the "influencer" of God: "without any doubt, the young woman of Nazareth did not appear in the time of social media. She was not an influencer but without expecting or looking for it she became the most influencer woman in history. We can say with confidence, as Mary's children, the influencer of God. With few words, she was encouraged to say "yes," and to trust in the promises of God, who is the only one capable of renewing things and all of us have something new to do today from deep inside"
On January 27, Francisco presided the Sunday Mass, from Campo San Juan Pablo II. From this place, he called the young people "to foster channels and spaces in which to get involved in dreaming and working the future, since today. Not in isolation, together, creating a space in common. A space that is not given away, nor won in the lottery but space for which you also must fight. You, young people, must fight for your space today, because life is today. Nobody can promise you one day for tomorrow. Your today life is today."
After finishing the Sunday Mass, the World Youth Day of Panama 2019 was closed and it was announced the city of Lisbon, in Portugal as the venue for 2022.