Pope Francis’s choice of Panama for the location of World Youth Day 2019 drew international attention to the plight of Central American migrants.

Pilgrims from Nicaragua and Venezuela received public and vocal support from their Panamanian hosts. In his final message for the event, Pope Francis seemed to draw a sharp contrast between this hospitality and the rejection migrants often face in other parts of the world, saying: “Often we too behave like the neighbors in Nazareth: we prefer a distant God: nice, good, generous but far-off, a God who does not inconvenience us. Because a close and everyday God, a friend and brother, demands that we be concerned with our surroundings, everyday affairs and above all fraternity. God chose not to reveal himself as an angel or in some spectacular way, but to give us a face that is fraternal and friendly, concrete and familiar. God is real because love is real; God is concrete because love is concrete.”

For the complete text of the papal message, visit the World Youth Day site here.

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