Be Kind to others, Be Patient, Put a smile..


The past few days I have been catching up on my posting from World Youth Day 2019 in Panama. I know it has been a while but I haven’t had the time to sit and do it.   As I write these  we  were asked are to stay where we are due to the Cornavirus.  I will be using this time to reflect on the World Youth Days that I have been to and the amazing people I have met. I have amazing stories that I have been writing down for the second book that I will be publishing.  I also  will be using this time to connect with previous World Youth Day pilgrims that I have traveled with.

I hope this virus come to an end soon and  I look forward to a healthy world in 2022 for the youth of the world to get together in Lisbon to celebrate in their Faith.  In the meantime. Be kind to others, Be patient, Find a way to put a smile on someone face, Make a phone call, Send a note, and Use Kind words.

beach cross on web

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Monday January 28, 2019- A day with the Emberas

Today we had a spectacular day. We began with a canoe trip to the Embera village. When we arrived we were given a warm welcome and told about their village. Their medicine man told us about the plants and how they use them to treat illnesses. They also have a school set up for the children that a teacher is brought in from the mainland each day. The villagers showed us the items that they make off the land. They live very simply there. Some of the villagers went to fish and brought us back fish and the ladies of the village cooked it up for us along with some plantains . It was very yummy.  The children of the village enjoyed playing with the youth that we brought we us.   They played very simple games and such as tag and drawing pictures in the dirt.

We ended our pilrimage with a dinner together sharing our experiences. We also celebrated my niece Brianna’s Bithday.  Tomorrow we will be flying home from Panama. I will miss the people here. They have been so kind and nice to us. They lead a stress worry free life. The folks we have had the pleasure to work with and mister with the locals and will miss them.  We look forward to the next World Youth Day in Lisbon 2022.






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Sunday January 26, 2020 Closing Mass

So at 5:55 am there was a lady on the loud speaker saying very loud “GOOD MORNING, GOOD MORNING, GOOD MORNING  IT IS TIME TO WAKE UP AND EXERCISE !!!!”  I lifted my head up and  saw it was still dark said ” You gotta be kidding me” and put my head back in my sleeping bag. Then they began to play loud music and the lady was yelling out aerobic moves.  There were pilgrims from Brazil that were next to us that got up and were doing it.  oh my !!!

Once we had time to wake up and eat something from our wyd food bag we prepared for the closing mass with Pope Francis. In his homily he a said” You, dear young people, are not the future but the now of God.  He invites you and calls you in your communities and cities to go out and find your grandparents, your elders; to stand up and with them to speak out and realize the dream that the Lord has dreamed for you.”

“Not tomorrow but now, for wherever your treasure is, there will your heart also be (cf. Mt 6:21).  Whatever you fall in love with, it will win over not only your imagination, it will affect everything.  It will be what makes you get up in the morning, what keeps you going at times of fatigue, what will break open your hearts and fill you with wonder, joy and gratitude.  Realize that you have a mission and fall in love; that will decide everything (cf. PEDRO ARRUPE, S.J., Nada es más práctico).  We may possess everything, but if we lack the passion of love, we will have nothing.  Let us allow the Lord to make us fall in love!

For Jesus, there is no “meantime”, but only a merciful love that wants to enter into and win over our hearts.  He wants to be our treasure, because he is not a “meantime”, an interval in life or a passing fad; he is generous love that invites us to entrust ourselves.”

In his farewell

” I ask you not to let the fervour of these days grow cold.  Go back to your parishes and communities, to your families and your friends, and share this experience, so that others can resonate with the strength and enthusiasm that is yours.  With Mary, keep saying “yes” to the dream that God has sown in you.” ( For more )

Pope Francis Announced the next World Youth Day  will be in 2022 in Libson.

IMG_6516IMG_6518IMG_6526brianna with my booksharon book with sarah

Once the closing mass was over we began our long walk back to the hotel. When we got there we took a quick dip in our hotel pool and then changed and head out for evening at the Panama Canal. All the members of our tour company were able to tour the visitor center and watch the boats go through the locks. They also had music and finger food for the youth. It was a enjoyable evening!


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Saturday January 26, 2020- Vigil

Today we began our pilgrimage walk to the vigil site called Campo San Juan Pablo II. We walked to the train and took it for a bit to a station. They stopped the trains and we had to walk the  rest of the way. The local Panama folks along the route were so kind to the pilgrims.  They were handing out bottles of water and snacks as you walked by.  It was a very hot walk and residents had their garden hoses available for pilgrims to hose themselves down with.  As we got closer we picked up our bag of food that we would use for today and tomorrow. There were some interesting things inside it. All the items that my Pilgrims that I was with did not want we gave to our new friends from Panama to have.

Once we arrived at the site we set up a tarp against a fence to help create some shade for our group from the hot sun.  Then the  pilgrims began to  connect and trade items with folks from all around the world.

As the sun began to set Pope Francis arrived to have vigil ceremony with the youth from around the world. Right before Adoration Pope Francis said” In a few moments, we will encounter the living Jesus in Eucharistic adoration.  You can be sure that he has many things to say to you, about different situations in your lives, families and countries.

Face to face with him, don’t be afraid to open your heart to him and to ask him to renew the fire of his love, so that you can embrace life with all its frailty and flaws, but also with its grandeur and beauty.  May he help you to discover the beauty of being alive.

Do not be afraid to tell him that you too want to be a part of his love story in this world, that you are ready for something greater!

Friends: when you meet Jesus face to face, I ask you also to pray for me, so that I too will be unafraid to embrace life, to care for its roots and to say, like Mary, “Let it be done, according to your word!”.  ( for more on the  speech

After Adoration  Pope Francis  left the vigil site for the evening.  The pilgrims continued to pray and worship though our the night.


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Friday January 25, 2019

Today was our third day of Catechesis.  I was blessed to work with Bishop Anthony Muheria  and Deacon Bernie. We had an awesome group of pilgrims who were eager to share in their faith and had great questions for the Bishop.  Today we said good by to our host volunteers at the church. They were awesome! Jorge Castrejon, Alan Lope, Malcela Isaza and Vincente Apricio. Tonight was the Stations of the Cross with Pope Francis.

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Thursday January 24, 2019. Day 2 Catechesis and Pope Arrival

Today we had our second day of catechesis. The church was full again with Pilgrims from many different places. Philippine, Finland, Greece, and many from the US to name a few. We worked with Bishop Nichols Hudson from England. He was a fantastic speaker and related well to the youth of the parish. After mass and we went to get lunch at another local spot. The people there were very kind and friendly. The we headed down for the Papal arrival. We were near a big screen so we can watch him as he rode through the city to the alter. After he spoke we saw him go by in the Pope Mobile

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Wednesday January 23, 2019. Catechesis Day 1

We began the day early with breakfast at our hotel. Good thing we did because we had an hour walk ahead of us to the parish we were ministering at today. The walk was pretty much straight uphill. The air was hot even at such and early hour. We were nice and sweaty when we reached the church. The church was San Antonio Maria Claret. It was a nice church up on a hill. We were welcomed by a local named Jose who was so helpful though out the day. We worked with a musician Nelson Gonzalez from San Jose, California. He along with his wife helped with todays workshop session. The church pews were all full and people were standing. The energy of the pilgrims was amazing. Bishop Leopoldo Jauican from the Philippines was the speaker today. He spoke to the youth around the theme ” Here I am Lord” . There was a question and answer session and during one of the questions the Bishop became emotional because it stuck his heart. It was powerful for the youth to see the Bishops are human just like them with emotions. We also had another Bishop from the Philippines and one from Taiwan there.

Once we concluded we went to the Youth Festival. We were able to knee before and touch the World Youth Day cross. It is brought fromWorld Youth Day to World Youth Day . We then had the opportunity to go to confession in an outdoor setting with priests from around the world. We also saw local artisans and and attended a vocations fair.

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Pictures from the Rainforest

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Monday January 22, 2019 The rainforest

I am very excited that my niece is on this World Youth Day Pilgrimage with me. I have asked her to write about out day today.

6 am on a Monday sounds in need of coffee and ignorance of an alarm but in Panama the view city lights and rolling waves is too breathtaking to realize the early rise. The journey began with a buffet breakfast that included a variety of foods from toast with straight off the bee hive honey comb to coconut and chocolate chip waffles.The waffles may have been a trial run for a waffle station because they forgot to put the add ones inside the waffle and spray the pan. But in the end la comical con fabulous (the food was fabulous).

The next task on our journey involved a little bit of rain as an obstIical but nothing we couldn’t overcome. Matching wind breakers and molasses moving sloths made our hearts melt and the sun come out. Apparently sloths don’t prefer to reproduce wow also they love raw vegetables as a morning snack. A little walk from the sloths was an enclosed butterfly orchard where we tried to get the beautiful winged fairy looking insects to perch on out matching green shirts.

Who knew a boat could go so fast your hair was whipped from your face and water gently sprayed your cheeks. A boat ride opened our eyes to massive crocodiles, beautiful toucans hidden in the branches and monkeys way to curious. One climbed in the boat integged and astounded by the feign creatures.

Back on land a bus took us too a canopy ride were we rode in a car high above the rainforest floor while listening to a recording that informed us of the surrounding Gamboa rainforest. The ride stopped at an observation tower where we felt as if we were on top of the world. The rainforest truly is the lungs of earth the view just took my breathe away.

A ride to a lunch of mashed potatoes and amazing chicken. Then we had a prayer session with Steve Agrinsano. He played music, shared some stories and he had everyone do a Divine Mercy Chaplet together. We concluded with a mass in the rainforest.

After mass we were all excited by the new expirence and broke out in song on the bus where we were a band that “didn’t stop believed”.

Dinner was literally a Crosont with cheese but i cant say it was bad i enjoyed it while a fellow group member sipped on a juice box as a result to our lack of Spanish. ‘

Day three was one to record, cant wait to see more of panama and all it has to offe

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Sunday January 20, 2019

Today we took a walking tour of the old town of panama. We learned the tide goes in and out every six hours so fishermen have to plan their days around the tide.

We saw where the president lives, the opera house and visited several churches. We visited San Felipe -it had a elaborate nativity set up in it. San Francisco Church- it was remodeled 4 years ago. Senora de La Mercedo which had a small alter with small houses on it to Saint Hedwig. We concluded at the La inglsia Nuestra Senora del Carmen for evening mass. It was in Spanish. I had the opportunity to see how much of my Spanish I could use.

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