Vatican Corner 01-27-19

A pilgrimage is a journey to a sacred place for the purpose of worship and/or to ask for heavenly aid. The journey involves leaving behind the comforts of home and frequently includes sacrifice, self-denial, hunger, long walks, pain, exhaustion, extreme weather, and crowds among the ordeals encountered. Jesus Christ embraced his cross of suffering and death and a good pilgrim should embrace suffering with joy. What is learned from the physical pilgrimage can be put into practice in the spiritual pilgrimage we are all on throughout our lives. Each day we have the opportunity to encounter Christ through suffering, joys, interactions with others, and through all our human experiences. By taking what is learned from a pilgrimage, one can put it into practice and have a better understanding of God. The 15th World Youth Day is being held in Panama on January 22-27, 2019. It is a huge Catholic event focused on faith. The theme is Mary’s response to God’s call, “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” The event is a chance for pilgrims from around the world to come together with the many Latin American youth to pray, worship, and celebrate the faith. There will be prayer services, trips to religious sites, a Vigil Mass with Pope Francis who will be attending the celebration. In his video message to the young people of the world, Francis said Mary’s “words are a brave and generous ‘yes’. It is the positive reply of one who understands the secret of vocation – to go beyond oneself and place oneself at the service of others. Our lives only find meaning in service to God and to other people. There are many young people, both believers and nonbelievers, who when they come to the end of a stage in their studies, feel a desire to do something for those who are suffering. This is a strength in young people, a strength that all of you possess. It is a strength that can change the world. It is a revolution that can overturn the powerful forces at work in our world. It is the ‘revolution’ of service. To be at the service of others does not only mean to be ready for action. It means also to be in conversation with God with an attitude of listening, just like Mary. She listened to what the angel said to her and then she responded. It is by relating to God in the silence of our hearts that we discover our identity and the vocation to which God is calling us. It can be expressed in different ways: in marriage, in consecrated life, in the priesthood…All these are ways of following Jesus. The important thing is to discover what God wants from us and to be brave enough to say ‘yes’. Dear young people, take courage, enter within yourselves and say to God: “What do you want from me?” Allow God to answer you. Then you will see how your life is transformed and filled with joy.” Our own Director of Faith Formation Glenda Aragón is leading a group of 24 youth and adult pilgrims from St. Joachim and St. Clement churches who are a(ending this World Youth Day event. To be continued …