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56-member contingent excited about WYD

Archbishop Kenneth Richards of Kingston (centre, back row) takes a photo with WYD pilgrims from the Archdiocese after a pre-departure Mass.


Fifty-six pilgrims registered under Jamaica arrived in Panama last Monday “excited and upbeat” for World Youth Day (WYD) 2019.

Jamaica pilgrim leader, Andrea Wray told Catholic News that for many of the delegates this was either their first trip on an airplane or their first WYD experience. Of the 56 pilgrims, 48 are from the Archdiocese of Kingston (4 from the Diocese of St George’s-in-Grenada) and 8 from the Diocese of Montego Bay; 11 have participated in previous WYDs.

The consensus though among the pilgrims was to “appreciate the universality of the Catholic Church”. The youth delegates, accompanied by Wray and Deacon Derrick Foster of the Kingston archdiocese involved 18 persons from Kingston travelling via Copa Airlines at 5.30 a.m. with a three-hour bus ride to Montego Bay. The contingent arrived in Panama at 2 p.m. “to a very warm and rousing welcome with escort to immigration”.

The eight youths from Montego Bay journeyed to Kingston to join their fellow Jamaica pilgrims and arrived at their destination 5 p.m. Travel time from Jamaica to Panama is approximately two hours.

Upon their arrival to the village of Limón, the entire community, she said, “came out to cheer and welcome”. “Then the parishioners of Santa Rita de Cascia sang and danced for Jamaica, and Jamaica danced with and for them.”

She added that the delegates are thankful to God that they all arrived safely and are enjoying the warm hospitality of the Panamanian people.

She shared that preparation for their WYD attendance involved monthly meetings beginning 14 months before departure. This included a mini-pilgrimage walk from the church where meetings were held to the mother church of Jamaica, Holy Trinity Cathedral; adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, pilgrimage to the church of Jamaica’s patron saint, recitation of the rosary and collaborating [in] fund-raising activities.

The Jamaican contingent departs Panama January 30.