In the month of June, forty students from the Colegio De La Salle in Panama City, began preparing themselves to participate with the De La Salle group in the World Youth Day which will take place in our country in January of next year. From the 3rd to the 6th of June, they worked with five local communities of Metetí in the Darien province of Panama (Arretí, Bijagual, Aruza Arriba, Buenos Aires, Sansón Arriba).
The Young Lasallians were received in the Cathedral of Darién, where they took part in a Eucharistic Celebration as an opening ceremony. For the occasion, they were joined by the young people from the Apostolic Vicariate of Darién who were preparing for the World Youth Day. They were interviewed by Radio “Voz sin fronteras“, which belongs to the Apostolic Vicariate and broadcasts to the whole province of Darién. Their board and accomodation were provided by the Sembradores de Esperanza Foundation, while transport and security were ensured by the Church Agencies of the National Service de Fronteras.
This Mission experience lasted four days, during which the Young Lasallians became closely acquainted with the fragile situations in which the local communities live. In various places, they visited people’s homes and brought the Word of God in a message of hope and consolation. They carried out physical work to support the infrastructure of some schools and oratories. They also had times for teaching religion to the chidren of the local communites. One special instance took place in the parish of Aruza Arriba. It has Saint Jean-Baptiste de La Salle as its patron, and so they gave each household a picture of the Founder and the text of a prayer to him for people to use.
The experience inspired the young people as Christians who are actively seeking to serve God in people in greatest need so as to give life to the words which Pope Francis addressed to young people .”I want the Church to go out into the streets, and I want us to guard ourselves against worldliness, comfort-seeking, clericalism and introversion. Parishes and schools must be places of outreach. Otherwise they become NGOs and the Church cannot be just an NGO.”
After this experience in vulnerable communities, the young people returned full of thanks and touched by the situations in which other people live. They were inspired to appreciate the opportunity they possess and to be ready to give a lifelong service as LASALLIANS WITHOUT FRONTIERS.