Some 56 young people from across India in Panama for WYD (photos-video)

After arriving on 15 January, the Indian delegation took part in cultural and social initiatives, including a pilgrimage with Mgr Audillo Aguilar of Santiago de Veraguas. The youth also planted several trees, following the "green" message of Laudato si' by Pope Francis.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – The delegation of 56 Indian pilgrims who landed in Panama for the 34th World Youth Day come from across India: Agra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu. They left the country on 15 January.

The young people are accompanied by nine priests and a nun as well as Mgr Mar Joseph Pandarasseril, auxiliary bishop of the eparchy of Kottayam, and Fr Deepak Thomas, executive secretary of the Youth Commission of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI).

The theme of this year's WYD is " Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word " (Lk 1:38).

Fr Thomas spoke to AsiaNews about the first days in Panama, ahead of Pope Francis’s arrival tomorrow.

"We arrived on 15 January, staying in the parish of Atalaya, Diocese of Santiago (de Veraguas). Here we took part in numerous social and cultural activities."

"On 17 January we celebrated a Eucharist of the meeting, during which we showed the culture of our country,” Fr Thomas said.

“The next day we dedicated ourselves to mission and sharing tourism. We planted several trees, following Pope Francis’s message in Laudato si’."

Saturday 19 January was dedicated to sport and family, whilst the following day the kids met with Mgr Audillo Aguilar, of the diocese of Santiago de Veraguas, with whom they went on a pilgrimage from the chapel of St Anthony to Atalaya.

Now, "we are going to travel to Panama City where we will be guests at the Church of Santa Eduviges". (NC)