Two Noll students celebrate World Youth Day in Panama

Tammy Bennett

  On January 22-27, two Bishop Noll students traveled to Panama City for the  16th World Youth Day. Junior Leslie Munoz and freshman Damian Ontiveros both volunteered through their home parishes: St. Casimir in Hammond (Munoz’s home parish) and St. John the Baptist in Whiting (Ontiveros’ home parish).

  Celebrated every three years, World Youth Day has an aim at getting people from different countries together in order to strengthen and gain a better understanding of their faith. The event is always celebrated in a different country and is headlined by the Pope as the main chaplain.

  Leslie Munoz said she first heard about the trip through different parishioners within the Saint Casimir community. Munoz said that nothing is required other than a love for God in order to attend World Youth Day and its events. She said the trip was filled with daily “praying, adoration, and mass.”    

  “I saw everyone from different countries in the world gathered together praying and adoring Christ in mass,” she said. Along with the religious events, she said she was able to enjoy some traditional Panamanian foods and witness firsthand how much Panamanian culture affects their people, language, and dances.

  Her biggest takeaway from the trip was the realization of how lucky she is to talk freely about her beliefs with those around her, because “not many are able to do that because of the countries they are in.”