Start praying for World Youth Day 2016

WYD 2016

Prayer for World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow

God, merciful Father,
in your Son, Jesus Christ, you have revealed your love
and poured it out upon us in the Holy Spirit, the Comforter,
We entrust to you today the destiny of the world
and of every man and woman.

We entrust to you in a special way
young people of every language, people and nation:
guide and protect them as they walk the complex paths of the world today
and give them the grace to reap abundant fruits
from their experience of the Krakow World Youth Day.

Heavenly Father,
grant that we may bear witness to your mercy.
Teach us how to convey the faith to those in doubt,
hope to those who are discouraged,
love to those who feel indifferent,
forgiveness to those who have done wrong
and joy to those who are unhappy.

Allow the spark of merciful love
that you have enkindled within us
become a fire that can transform hearts
and renew the face of the earth.

Mary, Mother of Mercy, pray for us.
Saint John Paul II, pray for us.

Better yet, I should strive to increase in my life the way in which I live out the theme of WYD 2016:

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.  (Matthew 5:7)

From the Catechism:

2447  The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities.  Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently.  The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead. Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God…

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The Christian community and its young people

Recently, at a Sunday Mass, our pastor honored several young parishoners who had recently graduated from high-school and college.  It was a wonderful opportunity for recognition.  The graduates were affirmed by our pastor for their academic accomplishments, as well as for their participation in our parish.

In his Message for the 32nd World Day of Prayer for Vocations, St John Paul II offered the following pointed advice for youth:

It is in following Jesus that youth displays all the richness of its potentiality and acquires its full meaning.
It is in following Jesus that the young discover the sense of a life lived as a gift of self, and experience the beauty and truth of growing in love.
It is in following Jesus that they feel themselves called to communion with him as living members of a single body, which is the Church.
It is in following Jesus that it will be possible for them to understand the personal call to love: in matrimony, in the consecrated life, in the ordained ministry, in the mission ad gentes.

Having established that an ongoing encounter with the living Christ should be the highest priority for youth, JP2 also offered advice for the rest of us in the Church:

What is needed today is a Church which knows how to respond to the expectations of young people. Jesus wants to enter into dialogue with them and, through his Body which is the Church, to propose the possibility of a choice which will require a commitment of their lives. As Jesus with the disciples of Emmaus, so the Church must become today the traveling companion of young people, who are often marked by confusion, resistance and contradictions, in order to announce to them the ever-astonishing “news” of the risen Christ.

This is what is needed: a Church for young people, which will know how to speak to their heart and enkindle, comfort, and inspire enthusiasm in it with the joy of the Gospel and the strength of the Eucharist; a Church which will know how to invite and to welcome the person who seeks a purpose for which to commit his whole existence; a Church which is not afraid to require much, after having given much; which does not fear asking from young people the effort of a noble and authentic adventure, such as that of the following of the Gospel.

The entire message is well worth reading, and quite challenging.  Near the conclusion, JP2 offered this brief but magnificent prayer to Our Blessed Mother for young people:

O Virgin of Nazareth,
the “yes” spoken in youth marked your
existence and it grew as did your life itself.

O Mother of Jesus,
in your free and joyful “yes”
and in your active faith so many generations
and so many educators have found inspiration
and strength for welcoming the Word of God
and for fulfilling his will.

O Teacher of life,
teach young people to pronounce the “yes”
that gives meaning to existence
and brings them to discover the hidden “name” of God
in the heart of every person.

O Queen of the Apostles, give us wise educators,
who will know how to love young people and help them grow,
guiding them to the encounter with Truth which makes one free and happy.
Amen!

Smartphone philosophy

In my part-time job at the freshmen men’s dorm of a local Catholic college, I see many students walking around with their eyes glued to their smartphone.  At our parish, I sometimes see people working their smartphone just prior to Mass.

This brief but brilliantly insightful article describes for us the appropriate attitude that we should have regarding technology in general, and smartphones in particular.

Joe HoudeThe author, Joe Houde, is a grandson of Louise & Martin Hudak, who are members of our parish.  They own and operate the Holy Family Spiritual Renewal Center in Sheatown/Newport Twp.

The magazine in which the article appeared is one of the best Catholic magazines available targeting youth and young adults.  I encourage you to take advantage of their offer, and request a free sample copy.