By Cian Molloy - 27 January, 2019
Organisers of “Panama in Dublin” were hailing the event, held in parallel with the World Youth Day meeting in South America, as a great success or as they say in Spanish ‘un gran éxito’.
Speaking to CatholicIreland.net last night, Gerard Hanley, head of the centre’s youth and young adult ministry, said: “There is a really great atmosphere here. People are really enjoying the event. We have just had some 140 people, including 40 trained volunteers, sit down and enjoy a meal together and we are all in great form.
“We have had a fantastic presentation by Elation Ministries and a great talk by Franciscan Sister Kelly Francis on ‘Dare to Say ‘Yes’, which is the theme of this year’s World Youth Day, and the centre has been decked out in the Panamanian colours.
“An event like this really brings it home to you that our faith is very much alive in Ireland. There are many, many young people who want to say ‘Yes’ to Our Lord. It’s very, very encouraging.”
“Panama in Dublin” was held at the Emmaus Centre in Swords. This is the first time such an event has been held at the Emmaus Centre, but when the World Youth Day was held in Brazil six years ago, a “Rio in Dublin” event was held at the Capuchin Day Centre.
Last night, the young people gathered in Swords were due to watch a live link of Pope Francis’s addresses at the WYD welcome centre, the vigil and the closing Mass.
Meanwhile in Panama, the news from young Dubliners taking part in the event was also very positive. Ameera Ahmed, posting on the Dublin Archdiocesan website, said one of the highlights for her was a talk given by Archbishop Simon Pho from Malaysia.
“The key take-away from his story for me was this: for young people who are not sure what to do with any situation in life, spend time talking to God about it. The real challenge is having the courage to acknowledge and follow His call,” she wrote.