By Matters India Reporter
Pondicherry, Feb. 6, 2019: Attending the 16th World Youth Day (WYD) held in Panama (Central America) was chance to strengthen faith, said an Indian delegation.
“I was so privileged to participate in WYD. It was really grace-filled moment for me. It has been full of joy and memorable moment filled with God’s grace. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to have personal contact the Pope Francis, a chance to strengthen my faith in God; a chance for me to make friends with people from different countries. The occasion enabled me to learn how to live harmoniously with others in a Universal Church,” Fr. Arputharaj, youth director of Archdiocese of Pondicherry and Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, told Matters India.
“Those days were filled with a lot of emotion along with Pope along with about 8,00,000 young pilgrims from more than 150 counties,” the priest added.
The 16th WYD was held from 22 to 27 January with the theme: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).
Some 56 Indian delegates participated in WYD. They were given grant welcome with the dance and music by the people of Panama.
“It made us to forget the fatigue of our hours of journey. The love and hospitality of the people of Panama and the host families have made me to understand the fraternity and solidarity of the people of God. The people were hospitable and generous. They were proud of their culture and tradition especially their music,” Father Arputharaj said.
They were there for five days which were intensive. Many programs and activities started with the inaugural Mass with the Pope, day of forgiveness, youth festival, vocational fair, faith walk, Way of the Cross, vigil service, exhibitions, discussion, cultural program of each country, and Holy Mass.
“The whole program was interesting and inspiring. I personally was overwhelmed and grace – filled moment. I thank God for this opportunity of meeting people of different cultures and countries. This experience enriched my ministry in guiding the youth in my archdiocese,” Father Arputharaj said.