The Ad Limina Visit of Panama’s Bishops at the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life was characterized by an atmosphere of great familiarity. The meeting comes at the time when the Dicastery and the Bishops’ Conference of this country of the Isthmus are collaborating very intensely to prepare the 2019 World Youth Day. Card. Farrell went to Panama a few weeks ago, and the Encounter “From Krakow to Panama” in preparation for the 2019 event was held in Rome.
Msgr. Ulloa, Archbishop of Panama, whose interview we have published, introduced the meeting by speaking about the laity as a treasure of the Panamanian Church. “They bear on their shoulders our Church’s being and action. For many years, we have been saying to them: ‘You are the Church!’ And they are fundamental today.”
“From the very beginning—continued the President of the Bishops’ Conference—our Church has suffered from the lack of priests. Today, all this has become a treasure, because laypeople have embraced their responsibilities.”
In this regard, some of the other Bishops indicated that the formation of the laity is one of the essential tasks of the Church in Panama, with the goal of helping them to live their mission not only within the Church but above all in society: “We have to get out of the sacristies and become the yeast in society, as the Pope asks us.”
Then, the discussion moved on to the theme of the family, and the Bishops explained that, in this area, the problem is defending it against the attacks that, as everywhere else, are increasing. Starting with Amoris Laetitia, the Bishops’ Conference in Panama has decided to engage, in a new way, in marriage preparation.
This Ad Limina visit was also an opportunity to continue working on the preparation of the World Youth Day that will be held in Panama. The Bishops consider the event very valuable for the renewal of youth ministry. It will take place just a few months after the Synod on Youth and be celebrated with the same vocational perspective.