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Go and Make Disciples

Jesus did not say: “if you would like to, if you have the time,” but: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Sharing the experience of faith, bearing witness to the faith, proclaiming the Gospel: this is a command that the Lord entrusts to the whole Church, and that includes you; but it is a command that is born not from a desire for domination or power but from the force of love, from the fact that Jesus first came into our midst and gave us, not a part of Himself, but the whole of Himself, He gave His life in order to save us and to show us the love and mercy of God.

 Krakow 2016

 

 

World Youth Day – Not A World Away!

It’s not too early to start thinking about World Youth Day in Rio de Janiero (July 23-28, 2013)! Who would have guessed that a native born son would be leading the celebration? May Pope Francis and all the attendees be bountifully blessed and nourished by the Word of God!

The theme of the meeting is:  “Go and make disciples of all nations!” (Mt 28:19)

While hundreds of  thousands if not millions of people from around the world will make the trek to Rio, there is an option for young people closer to home. The Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate sponsor their own event coinciding with World Youth Day called: World Youth Day ~ Not a World Away! To be held July 26—July 28, 2013, the 3 day celebration of our faith in this Year of Faith features dynamic speakers, music, drama, catechesis, discussion groups, Mass, confessions, Living Stations of the Cross, and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, as well as video clips of the Holy Father and the young people in Brazil.

Pope Benedict  XVI said in his Message to Youth (18 October 2012): “Be a new generation of missionaries, impelled by love and openness to all! Follow the example of the Church’s great missionaries like Saint Francis Xavier and so many others.”

For more information, visit the Parish Visitors website.

 

World Youth Day Logo – Brazil

The new logo for World Youth Day, which will be held in Rio de Janiero, July 23-28, 2013, was unveiled earlier this month.

It is so beautiful that it it worth reflecting on the image. Featuring Christ the Redeemer, the statue that overlooks the city’s harbor, it also incorporates the four colors of the Brazilian flag: green, white, blue and yellow.

Before beginning his creation, the winning artist, Gustavo Huguenin, 25, read the chapter of the Gospel of Matthew from where the motto of the WYDRio2013 was taken: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”(Mt 28:19). From those words he received the inspiration for the image.

“It brings me great happiness to know that my work will be used in the greatest Catholic event in the world, with our Holy Father, and that this image will be associated with the personal encounter the youth of the whole world will have with Jesus Christ during the WYDRio2013”, said Gustavo.

I pray for all the people who will journey to Brazil. May the young people especially, recognize the call that God has placed in their hearts.

 

A Radical Life

In his column for the September 2011 New Earth, the newspaper for the Diocese of Fargo, Bishop Samuel Aquila shared his own rich experience of World Youth Day. Toward the end of his column, he quoted at length Pope Benedict XVI’s address to young women religious, given during his August 19th meeting with them:

“It is not by accident that consecrated life is ‘born from hearing the word of God and embracing the Gospel as its rule of life. A life devoted to following Christ in his chastity, poverty, and obedience becomes a living exegesis of God’s word. . . . Every charism and every rule springs from it and seeks to be an expression of it, thus opening up new pathways of Christian living marked by the radicalism of the Gospel'” (Verbum Domini, 83).

“This Gospel radicalism means being ‘rooted and built up in Christ, and firm in the faith'” (cf. Colossians 2:7). In the consecrated life, this means going to the very root of the love of Jesus Christ with an undivided heart, putting nothing ahead of this love (cf. St. Benedict, Rule, IV, 21) and being completely devoted to him, the Bridegroom, as were the saints, like Rose of Lima and Rafael Arnáiz, the young patrons of this World Youth Day.

“Your lives must testify to the personal encounter with Christ, which has nourished your consecration, and to all the transforming power of that encounter. Read the rest of this entry »

Open to the Light of Christ

“Through Christ we know that we are not destined to wander into an abyss, or the silence of nothingness or death, but that we are pilgrims on a journey to the promised land.”

With these words, Pope Benedict XVI greeted the seminarians gathered in the Cathedral of Santa María la Real de la Almudena to participate in the Eucharistic celebration. In the joyful climate of World Youth Day last month, the Holy Father invited all of the men to live these years of preparation in interior silence, constant prayer, and assiduous study in order to understand if the path they are on–a path that “requires audacity and authenticity”–is the right choice for their lives.

WYD and Vocations

World Youth Day officially opened today. I just saw an article in the current issue of The Catholic Leader, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, Australia, that discusses  WYD from the perspective of vocations.

The August 16-21 celebration in Madrid is the first international youth gathering to feature a special papal meeting with religious women under the age of 35. About 1,500 sisters will meet with the Pope on August 19.

The next morning, Pope Benedict XVI is scheduled to celebrate Mass with about 4,000 seminarians.

The gatherings, according to Archbishop Joseph Tobin, secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, are important for those considering a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, as well as for those who already have embarked on their journey toward vows or ordination.

When the archbishop was superior of the Redemptorists, he said, a young member of the order told him what a similar youth gathering meant to him.

“He said for the first time in his young life as a Redemptorist priest he was in a room with other Redemptorists who have hair, and it’s not gray,” the 59-year-old archbishop said.

As for claims that World Youth Day is a seedbed for vocations, “I admit I was a little sceptical some years ago about whether it was a flash in the pan, and how do you carry it forth with some energy,” he said.

But studies have shown a significant portion of young men and women entering religious life cite the international event as an experience that contributed to their vocations. Read the rest of this entry »

Firm in the Faith!

In case you haven’t heard it already, check out “Firmes en la fe” (“Firm in the Faith“), the official theme song of World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid later this month.  This particular music video contains footage from past WYDs. Enjoy!

Renewal in the Spirit

Let’s once again unite our prayers this month with those of Pope Benedict XVI. Here are the Holy Father’s intentions for August 2011, as published by the Apostleship of Prayer:

  • World Youth Day.  That World Youth Day in Madrid may encourage young people throughout the world to have their lives rooted and built up in Christ. 
  • Western Christians.  That Western Christians may be open to the action of the Holy Spirit and rediscover the freshness and enthusiasm of their faith. 

The intentions this month beckon us to pray for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church, and in particular upon our youth. Like past World Youth Days, may this year’s WYD draw many young people to a deep, vibrant love for Christ and His Church.

More for Your Vocation

Last week at Rome Reports there was an intriguing video highlighting the vocation efforts of the United States bishops, especially a new series of videos at the Bishops’ For Your Vocation website.

I just visited the For Your Vocation website, and on this occasion I visited their blog and several other pages. What struck my attention this time (I hadn’t noticed it previously) was this vocations quiz–a series of questions to help young people go deeper in their discernment. And of course the site provides information on the upcoming vocations fair at World Youth Day, including the schedule of events.

U.S. Bishops to Hold Vocations Fair at WYD

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will host its first-ever Vocation Fair at a World Youth Day (WYD) on Wednesday, August 17. St. Francis Borgia Parish in Madrid will host the event. 

“This is a tremendous opportunity to invite our youth to open their hearts to Christ and respond to his call to the priesthood and the consecrated life,” said Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis, Missouri, chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations. 

Recent surveys of the newly ordained and those making their final religious profession indicate that at least 20 percent of them participated in a WYD one time or another. Read the rest of this entry »