Friday, July 18, 2008

World Youth Day '08 - Sydney, Australia

Eucharistic Adoration tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. Summer Series continues! I will give a reflection, “The Mass Explained” (Part II). Hope you can join us!
As you’ve probably seen on the news, Pope Benedict XVI is in Sydney, Australia for World Youth Day (WYD) which is a week-long festival for youth from all over the world. WYD began in the 1980s under Pope John Paul II as a way for youth to celebrate their faith in Christ with the Holy Father and each other. Some WYDs have drawn over 1 million youths, changing many of their lives forever.

One local priest says that his journey to the priesthood really began when attended WYD in Denver in 1993 with his girlfriend. He was so inspired hearing JP II talk about “going out to the rooftops” to spread the Gospel that he decided that’s what he wanted to do with his life.

Hopefully, the youth from St. Andrew’s will be able to attend the next WYD (we were unable to attend this time because of costs and scheduling). By the way, World Youth Day (July 15-20) is televised on EWTN.

The following are excerpts from Pope Benedict’s address at the welcoming ceremony:

"Some might ask what motivates thousands of young people to undertake what is for many a long and demanding journey in order to participate in an event of this kind. Ever since the first World Youth Day in 1986, it has been evident that vast numbers of young people appreciate the opportunity to come together to deepen their faith in Christ and to share with one another a joyful experience of communion in his Church. They long to hear the word of God, and to learn more about their Christian faith. They are eager to take part in an event which brings into focus the high ideals that inspire them, and they return home filled with hope and renewed in their resolve to contribute to the building of a better world. For me it is a joy to be with them, to pray with them and to celebrate the Eucharist with them. World Youth Day fills me with confidence for the future of the Church and the future of our world…

With many thousands of young people visiting Australia at this time, it is appropriate to reflect upon the kind of world we are handing on to future generations. In the words of your national anthem, this land 'abounds in nature’s gifts, of beauty rich and rare'. The wonder of God’s creation reminds us of the need to protect the environment and to exercise responsible stewardship of the goods of the earth. In this connection I note that Australia is making a serious commitment to address its responsibility to care for the natural environment. Likewise with regard to the human environment, this country has generously supported international peace-keeping operations, contributing to conflict resolution in the Pacific, in South-East Asia and elsewhere. Owing to the many religious traditions represented in Australia, this is particularly fertile ground for ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. I look forward to meeting local representatives of different Christian communities and other religions during my stay, so as to encourage this important work, a sign of the reconciling action of the Spirit who impels us to seek unity in truth and charity.

First and foremost, though, I am here to meet the young, from Australia and from all over the world, and to pray for a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all those taking part in our celebrations. The theme chosen for World Youth Day 2008 is taken from words spoken by Jesus himself to his disciples, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles: 'You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses to the ends of the earth' (1:9). I pray that the Holy Spirit will bring spiritual renewal to this land, to the Australian people, to the Church throughout Oceania and indeed to the ends of the earth. Young people today face a bewildering variety of life-choices, so that they sometimes find it hard to know how best to channel their idealism and their energy. It is the Spirit who gives the wisdom to discern the right path and the courage to follow it. He crowns our poor efforts with his divine gifts, just as the wind filling the sails sweeps the ship forward, far surpassing what the oarsmen can achieve through their laborious rowing. In this way, the Spirit enables men and women in every land and in every generation to become saints. Through the Spirit’s action, may the young people gathered here for World Youth Day have the courage to become saints! This is what the world needs more than anything else."


At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see that the summer Adoration series is already defined, but another thing I think would be great would be leading a guided meditation, similar to what I think is likely done on retreats. I asked someone about meditation, about how that works in her life. I really don’t have a clear distinction between prayer, meditation and contemplation. She offered to take me through what she does. She suggested we do it together, sort of a step-by-step, but I was really uncomfortable about that. It was a kind offer, but that’s way out of my comfort zone. In a group setting, however, I’d do it.


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