By Andrew Fowler

Photo credit (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Photo credit (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

More than 12,000 Catholic pilgrims from the United States–including members of the Knights of Columbus — will gather with other faithful from around the world in communion, prayer and celebration during World Youth Day from Jan. 22 to Jan. 27 in Panama City, Panama.

The Knights of Columbus is collaborating with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to host “Fiat,” a two-part festival event on Wednesday at the Figali Convention Center.

The event includes special guests Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, Bishop Robert Barron and Curtis Martin who will share their stories of faith with thousands of young Catholics.

The event will be live-streamed from 3-5 p.m. and 7-10 p.m.

Other speakers include Bishop José Arturo Cepeda Escobedo, Bishop Edward Burns, Bishop Frank Caggiano, Sr. Bethany Madonna, Steve Angrisano, Iván Díaz, Sarah Kroger, the FOCUS Collective and Catholic young adults from across the U.S.

The Knights of Columbus has promoted and sponsored events at World Youth Day since 1997, when the Supreme Council invited a group of college Knights to attend as pilgrims. In Madrid (2011), the Knights sponsored the “Love and Life” site for English-speaking pilgrims and the college Knights pilgrimage. In 2016, 30 college Knights from the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Malaysia and Poland traveled to Krakówwhere they not only assisted an English-language catechetical site, but also visited Auschwitz, the Divine Mercy Shrine and the Tatra Mountains.

This past summer, the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C. — a major pastoral initiative of the Knights of Columbus — hosted the official World Youth Day Cross and Icon as part of the international procession in advance of the World Youth Day event in Panama.

St. John Paul II instituted World Youth Day on December 20, 1985 coinciding with the United Nation’s International Year of the Youth. The first was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina the following year.

During World Youth Day in Kraków, the Knights of Columbus Mercy Centre hostedPope Francis, who thanked the volunteers for “helping and serving the thousands of young pilgrims.” Pope Francis told the volunteers to be courageous and exhibit bravery. But he also emphasized that the youth must remember history and retain their memories because, even though he was unsure he would be in Panama in 2019, Saint Peter would be. “And you are going to have to answer to Peter, right?”

Pope Francis will attend World Youth Day, making it his third appearance since his election to the papacy. The theme he chose focuses on Mary’s fiat from the Gospel of Luke: “I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).

“To be at the service of others does not only mean to be ready for action,” said Pope Francis in a message to the Catholic youth who are preparing for World Youth Day. “It means also to be in conversation with God with an attitude of listening, just like Mary. She listened to what the angel said to her and then she responded.”

To learn more about the Knights’ involvement with World Youth Day, click here.

To watch Fiat, click here.

Get up-to-date World Youth Day action on the Knights’ social media channels. Follow us on Twitter (@KofC), on Instagram (kofc_official) and on Facebook.

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