World Youth Day 2019 – Day 9

23 January 2019, Pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2019 Panama
Dallas Bishop Edward J Burns delivering his catechesis session. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.


Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv is leading 171 pilgrims from the Diocese of Parramatta to World Youth Day 2019 (WYD).

WYD 2019 will be a pilgrimage to Mexico, Panama and the United States for a two-week festival of faith with millions of youth from around the world joining Pope Francis for an encounter with Jesus and deeper faith formation.

The Diocese of Parramatta Communications Team will be capturing stories during WYD 2019. You can follow the pilgrimage below through our daily updates and on

For Day 1, click here

For Day 1 (In Transit), click here

For Day 2, click here

For Day 3, click here

For Day 3 (Evening), click here

For Day 4, click here

For Day 5, click here

For Day 6, click here

For Day 7, click here

For Day 8, click here

Pope Francis arrives and Dallas Bishop delights

His Holiness Pope Francis arrived in Panama, on Wednesday afternoon local time, to celebrate World Youth Day 2019 with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from around the world. The Holy Father was greeted by local dignitaries including the President of Panama and the First Lady.

Meanwhile, across Panama City, catechesis, festivals and fairs were held in several locations for the pilgrims with a focus on vocations, art, spirituality and culture.

Bishop Edward J Burns delighted Australian, Canadian, US, South African, Irish, UK and other English-speaking pilgrims for the first World Youth Day catechesis session.

Australian and South African pilgrims during catechesis in Panama City. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

The firebrand Bishop of Dallas, Texas, called upon the pilgrims to be compassionate to each other and “never fail to see Christ in others – we have many different countries and we have so many laws, but we never fail to see the dignity of the human person.”

Known for his very personal style and passionate preaching, Bishop Burns was appointed by Pope Francis in 2016 to the big ‘D’ – the Diocese of Dallas, home to 1.3 million Catholics, having previously been the Bishop of Juneau, Alaska – with a mere 10,000 Catholics.

Whilst he was Bishop of Juneau, he was known to arrange a weekly Skype call with all eight priests of the Diocese for prayer and pastoral support.

Dallas Bishop Edward J Burns celebrates Mass, concelebrated by Archbishop Anthony Fisher and Bishop Vincent Long during catechesis in Panama City. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

The catechesis events are run over three days during World Youth Day, catering to specific languages. Pilgrims have the opportunity to meet and interact with pilgrims from other countries. Each catechesis has time for worship, interaction, a talk given by a Bishop, and completed by Mass with a homily.

Catechesis sessions are taking place across Panama City in churches and other chosen venues to ensure that all young people can participate.

In his challenging homily to pilgrims, Bishop Burns addressed the concept of unjust laws, “just because something is the law, it doesn’t make it right. In our country, we have had a dark history, slavery was not right, women not being able to vote was not right, abortion isn’t right.

“We safeguard the sanctity of every human person. My friends, never be paralysed in serving our brothers and sisters, for in serving them are we able to serve our God.

“Every country has the right to protect its borders, but we never want to fail to see the dignity of the human person – our God is an immigrant God, he had to immigrate from the Divine to Human and then again to flee to Egypt. When you welcome a stranger, you welcome me,” he said.

English-speaking pilgrims are seen during catechesis in Panama City. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

Reflecting on the catechesis event, Diocese of Parramatta pilgrim Rebecca had been finding the heat difficult, but said there was an experience that had a profound impact on her. “My overall reason for coming was to experience the universal Church, and having being tired and exhausted, I had a moment at Mass, during the sign of peace where these South Africans came over to us and gave us these tight hugs and I just felt seen and loved.”

During the afternoon, pilgrims had the opportunity to encounter the World Youth Day festival events including a youth festival highlighting an artistic, spiritual and cultural program and a Vocations Fair where religious organisations and other groups present their charism and works.

Of special mention is the US Bishops’ Conference encounter with Bishop Robert Barron (Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles) who has been described as a “social-media superstar” and “The Bishop of Catholic Social Media” by The Wall Street Journal.

View the photos from today here or click on the images below.

WYD 2019

World Youth Day 2019 IN-Sync

The Diocese of Parramatta will be a hosting a special World Youth Day event on January 27.

As the 171 pilgrims from the Diocese of Parramatta prepare for the final Mass at World Youth Day 2019 in Panama, their families and friends are being invited to celebrate alongside them thousands of kilometres away in Parramatta.

The World Youth Day (WYD) 2019 IN-Sync event on Sunday 27 January will allow those families and friends to connect with the pilgrims as they finish their pilgrimage.

WYD2019 IN-Sync has been organised by Catholic Youth Parramatta, Institute for Mission, St Patrick’s Cathedral Community and the Diocesan WYD Steering Committee.

The World Youth Day 2019 IN-Sync event will be held at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, on Sunday 27 January at 6pm.

Fr Paul Roberts, Director for the Institute for Mission, Diocese of Parramatta, said that IN-Sync is “an attempt to link the local community with our travelling pilgrims, and a chance for those at home to share directly in the spirit of World Youth Day.”

The IN-Sync event will begin with Mass at 6pm at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, with a celebration of food, music and fellowship to follow.

If you wish to attend, please RSVP by 22 January to Fr Paul Roberts –

Essential details

  • 27 January, from 6pm
  • St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta
  • 6pm – Special WYD Mass
  • 7pm – Food, shooting video messages to be used for the pilgrims’ retreat in Houston, video messages from our pilgrims in Panama


To follow the Diocese of Parramatta’s pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2019 in Panama, please visit


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