JESUS YOUTH PILGRIM: DELNA
I would like to begin my testimony right from the theme of WYD, “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
This WYD experience has got me closer to Jesus in many ways and to put one encounter into words is difficult. But the one time, that I completely fell in love with Jesus was during the adoration, when Fr Rob sang ‘I surrender’. It felt like Jesus was telling me to surrender all my problems and life questions to Him and from that point I surrendered everything to Him completely.
After surrendering to Jesus, my problems have not disappeared, but He has given me the grace, strength and right amount of patience to deal with them in a better way. Also I truly believe that Jesus has a mission for you, whoever He chooses you to be in his name. I feel like my mission on this trip was to bring unity and spread love probably unknowingly.
When we were given our foster home, I was completely in awe of how perfect and rich it all was and we just went about normally gathering everyone for each meal. Spending as much tine knowing them that I could in 5 days. But as we were leaving, our foster dad came and thanked us specially for uniting his family and sharing the love and prayers and care towards them. He told us his house is ours and we can come stay there for as long as we wanted, again I did feel like my mission for Jesus was fulfilled and He wants me to know that I always have a shelter wherever He wants to take me.
I am completely in awe of Jesus and His ways of working in my life through various incidents and instruments that I have encountered during this WYD in Panama. I would like to end my testimony by thanking Jesus Youth for all their love and support through it all.
DUBAI PARISH PILGRIM: ROENELLE VILLEGAS
The entirety of my first-ever World Youth Day is a blast of many beautiful moments. My favorite, though are those parts where Jesus reveals Himself to me through the beauty of discomforts.
We have been told over and over again during the monthly formations that it would be a rigorous path. But who would have thought that the first challenge came up even before the official pilgrimage began! We were supposed to fly on January 15th. But it did not happen as planned. What I thought to be just a day of delay stretched out up to 4 long days of playing the game. But it did not matter in the end. What mattered was the way I saw how Jesus worked in my heart and in my fellow pilgrims’ hearts as we waited with expectant faith. The delay didn’t stop us from praising and trusting God amidst that storm. Plus, we formed a friendship that’s bonded by prayers.
I set off to Panama with a strengthened faith and I only carried in my heart the openness to more of God’s surprises. And my only expectation was His grace.
The journey entailed a lot of sacrifices: long queues at the food stores, strong heat of the sun, foul smell of the portable toilets, misunderstandings in the group, walking countless miles, to just name a few. But Jesus didn’t fail to show up especially in those ugly situations. I needed only to focus on Him.
In meeting Jesus in such moments of discomfort I was reminded of His path to the Cross. He went through so much pain and persecution in order to save me. I can then only trust that my share of sacrifices on the pilgrimage called life is the true essence of becoming God’s disciple.
Through the WYD pilgrimage I am even more assured of God’s faithful love. Where He sends you there His love is. It is my hope that more young people become adventurers of faith — willing to rejoice and be disturbed all the same time. Thus, I pray: Lord, thank You for the privilege to be called Your child and friend. Even if it means to go through discomforts, here I am; may it be done so that Your great love, grace, and mercy be revealed.
DUBAI PARISH PILGRIM: GLENNA MENDONCA
Hi everyone. My name is Glenna Mendonca. When Pope Francis first announced about WYD Panama 2019, I was excited as I had heard a lot about it from my family, friends and CAYG members. I decided and I eventually starting preparing myself for this pilgrimage.
When the 1st WYD formation meeting was announced for the month of November 2017, I was excited and at the same time scared if I could attend these formations,as they would be held on Fridays which is my working day. I approached my boss and spoke to him about WYD and the formation meetings, which would be held once every month. He just looked at me and said ‘No problem, you can go’. So basically, my journey to encounter Jesus’s love started on that day.
In the mid of November 2018, I started getting terrible head pains which use to generally last for the whole day. After visiting couple of doctors, I met a Neurologist who then advised me to do an MRI scan of the brain. On getting the reports, we realized that my brain has abnormal blood cells which is generally termed as Cavernoma which was one of the reasons why I get the head pain.
I had to meet a Neurosurgeon as the only course of action is brain surgery. He also said that it would be better to get operated as soon as possible however in the meanwhile, he gave me precautionary meds which make me very drowsy.
Looking at the state of my health, my boss and my colleagues were worried about me travelling to an unknown place without my husband. Frankly speaking, I was scared and I felt that I was not in the right state to travel, and so told him that I did not want to go. But then my husband questioned me back saying “were you not the one who was excited to go for the WYD?” He also reminded me of the theme of WYD 2019, which was “let your will be done”.
The week before we were supposed to travel, the pain started increasing day by day up to the point that I could not even sleep. Every alternate day I used to cry. On the 14th of January, I had not packed my bags and I was at work till 9:30pm. I reached home and started packing. While I was packing at 11:30pm my husband got a call saying that we were not travelling tomorrow. As soon as my husband said that to me I took a deep breath and told him ‘ I want to sleep because I am done for the day’.
Next day I got up the next day at 11:30am after having a really good night sleep. I was happy about the fact that I was not travelling. For good one and half day that I got to spend at home I took good rest and jotted done all petitions received from family, friends and colleague, and finished my packing.
Once I reached my parish in Chitre and met my foster family I was very happy to see how these families could accept and love unknown strangers as their own family members. In short, the Days of Diocese are one among the most memorable days of my life.
When we reached Panama City, they registration team requested that I meet the on-site doctor for some formalities. On seeing my MRI report the doctor made me sign a health waiver and he advised me not to attend all the main Pope events due to the extreme heat, walking and lack of shade.
Let’s just say I was upset. From that day on till the last day of WYD Jesus kept blessing me with different things.
It started with getting a chance to perform on stage during the Masterplan Performances at two of the main WYD events, including the Pope’s Welcome ceremony and at the Vigil Night on the main stage. Which meant I had to go through Security checks and take the VIP Artist bus direct to the main stage – no walking in the hot sun and sitting backstage. What I actually felt and noticed in these 5 days is that I did not have any head pains.
I may not have made friends from other countries but I am happy I got a new family from Dubai itself because I noticed that from the time, I got into the plane till I landed back to Dubai Jesus was physically present with me as he kept sending his wonderful angels through people to guide, guard and protect me throughout this journey. And now whenever I hear the word Jesus, I just have a smile on my face because I know he is there right next to me. Thank you.