Adoration tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. Deacon Kevin will be the celebrant. All are invited!!
This weekend, twelve of our teens and three of us adults will go to a youth retreat, Mount 2007, in Emmitsburg, Maryland. It is a Eucharistic festival with music, talks, Mass, confessions, and prayer. There will be over 1,500 teens there from different parts of the country. This retreat was started by seminarians at the Mount in the mid 1990s as "Youth 2000" which generated from the World Youth Days under Pope John Paul II. It then was renamed "Mount 2000", and now Mount 2007.
I helped out with this retreat five of my six years in the seminary. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Mount seminarians coordinate the weekend, bringing in popular priests, nuns, speakers, and musicians to lead the youth throughout the weekend. Almost all of the activities take place in the arena at the Mount which is used as a large chapel. The Blessed Sacrament is exposed just about all weekend in the center of the arena, and is the center of the retreat.
The climax of the weekend occurs on Saturday night with a Eucharistic procession. Seminarians, including a deacon, go to the middle of the arena where the Eucharist is. The deacon reads a passage from Luke's Gospel, chapter 8, verses 40-56. Included in this passage is the encounter that the woman who has suffered from hemorrhaging for twelve years has with Jesus. As our Lord passed through the large crowd, she merely touched his garment, and "immediately her bleeding stopped" (v. 44).
The deacon then explains that the youth will have the same opportunity as the woman with the hemorrhage. He tells them that the Eucharist that is in the monstrance is the Body of Christ. It is Jesus in the flesh! It is the risen body of Him who walked through the crowd and healed this woman. So, it will be Jesus who will walk through the crowd of youth in the arena.
The deacon then puts on a special garment called a humeral veil. He places the veil over his hands and then, with the help of the seminarian servers, he takes hold of the monstrance. At this point, the deacon is taken out of the equation, and it is Christ who is in procession. The servers go ahead of our Lord in procession throughout the arena. Seeing this unfold is very powerful!
The youth understand the amazing opportunity of having Jesus walk among them. As the Eucharist processes by their section, many reach out to grab hold of his garment for healing. Many of them cry, many of them smile, many of them sing God's praises. One year, there was a young girl who shrieked loudly as the Eucharist processed in front of her; it sounded demonic (moments later, she was physically faint, but recovered).
Just like the woman with the hemorrhage, these teens are suffering from all kinds of wounds. They might be dealing with the wounds of their parents' divorce, a death of a loved one, rejection by friends or peers, loneliness, alcohol or drug abuse, physical or mental disorders, anger, jealousy, hatred, grudges, unforgiveness, etc. And, just like the woman, they might go to all kinds of doctors for help and treatment. They might go to counselors or therapists to deal with their problems. Or, they might not have anyone to talk to or consult with the anxieties of daily life. It's only until they (or anyone) go to Christ that they can experience true healing.
For many of them, then, the procession - and really the whole weekend - is the first step in the healing process. They reach out to Christ with an open heart, mind, and hand, and he touches them with his Grace. In that arena, the Grace of Christ is completely palpable! The Spirit who is guiding it all definitely makes his presence known! By the end of the weekend, the youth, adult chaperones, seminarians, and religious and lay leaders are all drained. Just like Christ felt the power go out of him in healing the woman with the hemorrhage, so all who are open to the Spirit in Mount 2000 experience the Grace of Christ come into them.
Please pray that our youth will be open to the Spirit this weekend at Mount 2007.