Young adult members of Toronto’s Ita Gaudium organized a raffle during a dinner dance to raise enough money to go to World Youth Day in Panama City. Photo courtesy of José Murillo

Latin American young adults go home for World Youth Day

By  Nicole Vaz, Youth Speak News
  • January 18, 2019

When 27-year-old David Figueroa found out this year’s World Youth Day was going to be hosted in Panama, so close to his home country of Colombia, he was more than excited to be a part of the event. 

But at the same time, it didn’t matter where it was because he remembered his true mission as a pilgrim. 

“At the end of the day it doesn’t matter whether World Youth Day is in Panama, Colombia or Canada,” Figueroa said. “The most important is that young people have the opportunity to come together as a group and strengthen their relationship in God.” 

Figueroa is the leader of a Spanish young adult group based in Brampton, Ont.  The group, Ita Gaudium, which translates to “path of joy,” is made up of about 15 Latin American young adults who meet together for prayer and fellowship.

These young people will be attending World Youth Day Panama (Jan. 22-27) and are making sure to prepare themselves both financially and spiritually. The group was formed with the guidance and motivation from their parents and Fr. Gustavo Campo, their spiritual director. 

In the beginning, their meetings would be held in a member’s house. However, through prayer and hard work, they were able to find a space to meet at their local parish church, St. Mary’s. 

Ita Gaudium has been successful in raising money to support their pilgrimage through fund-raisers such as bake sales and raffles. 

The group recently organized a Christmas dinner and dance for the members in their parish community.  The community was very supportive as ticket sales went from 80 to over 200 tickets purchased in just a week. 

In addition, the group meets several times a week to pray together not only at Mass but also by attending weekly adoration and novenas. 

(Vaz, 17, is a Gr. 12 student at Fr. Michael Goetz Secondary School in Mississauga, Ont.)

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