This week the Archdiocese of Boston formally announced their participation in the 2019 World Youth Day held in Panama City, Panama next January. The purpose of World Youth Day is to give all pilgrims’ present an opportunity to experience a personal encounter with Jesus Christ; his Spirit; and his Church. The theme of the 2019 WYD is;

“I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

This scripture passage from Luke describes Mary’s response to the Angel’s message; that she was to bear a son and name him Jesus, and that he would be great and would be called Son of the Most High. Mary is amazed at what is spoken to her, but her faith in God and his goodness is confirmed when hearing that Elizabeth her cousin is pregnant. “For nothing is impossible for God.”

The presenters of the pilgrimage from Boston described the special nature of this particular event. They acknowledged that this World Youth Day was very different from those in the past. Since it was taking place in January and not July, there were not many famous religious sites to visit or many famous saints that were directly from Panama to speak of, but this did not matter. The city of Panama is made up of rainforests and inundated with churches, streets, and parks all named after the Blessed Mother. Panama is also the city by the Suez Canal, the shortcut between the east and the west and whose dedication date took place August 15, 1912. Hmmm, are you seeing a connection to the purpose of World Youth Day? Our Blessed Mother Mary’s sole purpose as our spiritual mother is to bring us closer to Christ through her powerful prayers and her love for each of us. Therefore, with this in mind, Boston’s own theme for World Youth Day will be; “Take the Shortcut”. Entrusting ourselves to Mary’s intercession is a sure way to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. How, you may ask do we do this? By Love. By relying on her powerful intercession, experiencing her tender care, speaking to her from our hearts, letting ourselves be led by her, having recourse to her in all things, and trusting her completely. (St. Maximilian Kolbe)