PANAMA CITY – Pope Francis, who arrived in Panama on Wednesday to participate in World Youth Day (WYD), will begin on Thursday the official agenda of his visit which includes giving speeches to officials and Central American bishops, as well meeting local young people.
The Pope will visit the Palacio de las Garzas (Herons’ Palace), residence of the Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela for a courtesy visit on Thursday.
There he will be greeted at the entrance by Varela and they will greet Panamanians together from first floor balcony.
After his private meeting with Varela, Pope Francis will head to the Palacio Bolivar (Bolivar Palace), home of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he will deliver a speech to some 700 people including officials, diplomats and representatives of civil society and culture.
The Pontiff will then walk to the nearby church of St. Francis of Assisi, where he will meet with the bishops of the seven Central American countries – Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Belize.
Pope Francis is expected to address some issues concerning the churches of the region during that meeting.
On Thursday afternoon, the first act of the WYD will be held, with the reception ceremony at the Campo Santa Maria la Antigua and a speech by the Pope to nearly 150,000 youths participating in the event.
Five youths representing the continents will welcome Pope Francis and present the patron saints of WYD, including Oscar Romero, recently canonized by the Pope in Rome.