The Holy See has invited Fr. Germán Mendez Cortes (SCOR), the International Advisor to “Encounters of Youth Promotion”, to participate in the Preparatory Conference of the 34th World Youth Day to be held in Panama (2019) and to help with the preparation of the working document for the next Synod of the Church (2018). This work will take place in Rome, from 4 to 9 April, coinciding with the 32nd World Youth Day.  The Blessed Virgin Mary is at the heart of the themes for the upcoming WYDs, chosen by Pope Francis, which are taken from the Gospel of Saint Luke- 32nd World Youth Day, 2017: “The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is His Name” (Lk 1:49); 33rd World Youth Day, 2018: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God” (Lk 1:30) and the 34th World Youth Day, 2019: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). 

            Fr. Germán Mendez, C.P. was born in Facatativá (Colombia) on February 1, 1969; he professed First Vows on January 7, 1990 and was ordained a priest on 21 October 1996. Currently he is the local Superior of the community of Santa Gema in Santiago (Chile). He collaborated with the work of Secretary of the last General Chapter of the Congregation (2012) and has been appointed by the Superior General as a Member of the Preparatory Commission for the next General Chapter (2018).

            “Encounters of Youth Promotion”, (EPJ) was founded in Medellín (Colombia) by Fr. José Maria Pujadas, Barcelona (Spain) [1915-1984]. In addition to Fr. Germán, international Advisor since 1999, there are several religious accompanying this youth movement in Latin America. It is a movement with Pontifical approval by means of a Decree (06/29/2001) that defines it as- “an international movement founded by the Spanish priest José María Pujadas Ferrer in Medellín in 1968. Beginning in Colombia, for more than 30 years the movement has extended to several countries of the American and European continents.

            The movement aims to encourage young people to live fully the Christian vocation. The members of the youth groups become the leaven of the Gospel in various environments where they are located.  Likewise, meetings of youth promotion contribute effectively to promote the vocation which the Lord directs to every young person, offering them an appropriate plan of human and spiritual formation that includes the essential elements of frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist, the regular practice of prayer and moments of sharing of their experiences in community”.