Archbishop Simon Poh: My World Youth Day experience in Panama
As a priest, I accompanied our youth in 1997 to the WYD Paris, WYD Cologne 2005, and WYD Sydney 2008. I would stay in the same parish with our Malaysian youth.
For this WYD in Panama, I was participating for the first time as a Bishop. I was thus assigned to a different parish with other bishops where we would be fetched and sent to designated centres to give catechesis and celebrate Masses for WYD pilgrims.
I stayed with a gracious and kind host family, who brought me to meet our Malaysian youth whenever possible, especially at Masses.
Through the opportunity given to minister in a few parishes in Panama City, I experienced the welcome and hospitality of the Panamanian Catholics. Some of the parishes are very much like our parishes in the kampongs and the smaller towns.
The parishes outside the city area in general, are not so well off financially, but I experienced the generosity of the parishioners. In a way, it is those who are poorer who are more generous and giving.
It is an invitation for us to give from our poverty. When we do not have much, we can still offer to the Lord the little we have for His Kingdom. We have been enriched by the Catholics of Panama.
I am proud of our Malaysian youth who participated wholeheartedly, and who made commitments to join the WYD formation events. It gives me great joy when I meet them in the parishes, at event centres and even on the streets of Panama.
I could see their support and concern as they took care of each other. This is the rapport that we need in our Youth Ministry. May our youth share their enthusiasm and faith experience of World Youth Day, during this Year of Mission.
WYD 22-27 January 2019 Panama
Note: Archbishop Simon Poh is the Bishop in charge of Youth and Campus in Malaysia.