Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 29 January 2020

Pope Francis in Panama for World Youth Day - in pictures

Catholic leader will celebrate a special penitential Mass with detained youth on Friday

Pope Francis is bringing World Youth Day to Panama's juvenile delinquents who can not participate in the Catholic Church's big festival of faith.

Francis on Friday will celebrate a special penitential Mass inside the Las Garzas de Pacora detention centre, which is Panama's main youth prison. In a twist, he will also hear the inmates' confessions inside confessionals the detainees made themselves.

Francis opened his first full day in Panama with that message of hope on Thursday, formally welcoming tens of thousands of pilgrims to World Youth Day.

Read more: Pope speaks out against corruption and walls

He urged them to be builders of bridges of encounter, not "builders of walls that sow fear and look to divide and box people in," a clear reference to the proposed US-Mexico border wall.

Earlier in the day, in remarks to President Juan Carlos Varela, he warned that those same young people are increasingly demanding that public officials live honest lives that are coherent with the jobs entrusted to them.

Updated: January 25, 2019 10:42 AM