Archbishop Jose Domingo Ulloa of Panama is calling the event a “testing ground” for principles laid out at the October Synod of Bishops on young people.
During a press conference in Rome, the Archbishop said the event will place a special emphasis on Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si.
“The topic of migration will be central,” the Archbishop said. “Young people [are] being forced to emigrate, many suffering at the hands of drug traffickers.”
Women in the Church will also be a key topic because “one cannot conceive a Church, surely the one in Latin American and especially the one in Central America, [which] is not kept together by women,” he added.
Ulloa noted that a global gathering like World Youth Day will be a “great opportunity to bring forward all the good that women have done through history.”
He believes the event will present the perfect opportunity for young people to “raise their voice” on central issues like these.
Over 47,000 youths from 155 countries have already registered to attend the event according to event organisers, and 168,000 are currently completing the application process.
“As a church, as a country, we are preparing to welcome the thousands of young people who will attend,” Ulloa said.
He closed by stating that the event will also carry the usual themes: “I am convinced that Pope Francis will be bringing the theme of hope,” he concluded.