2 WORLD YOUTH DAY
AUGUST 26 2011 THE CATHOLIC HERALD
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Be rooted in Christ, Pope tells pilgrims
POPE CELEBRATES OPENING LITURGY BY CINDY WOODEN
WELCOMED to World Youth Day by a boisterous, flagwaving throng of hundreds of thousands of young people from around the world, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged their enthusiasm but also urged them to be strong, solid and think about their faith.
Pope Benedict walked through the Puerta de Alcala, a monumental arch symbolising the entrance to the city, with young people representing Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.
Moving to the nearby Plaza de Cibeles for the formal greetings and a prayer service, young people representing the various regions greeted the Pope and gave him gifts that represented a formal cultural welcome.
The Pope received salt and bread from a young Polish woman. a flower garland from a Japanese woman, a bowl of rice from a South Korean, a sombrero from a Honduran and coffee beans in a banana leaf from a young man from Australia.
Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela of Madrid also took a turn at the microphone, welcoming the Pope on behalf of the Spanish Church and society but the evening ceremony and prayer service were clearly about the Pope and the young people.
Hours before the Pope arrived young people staked out spots in the plaza and surrounding streets. To pass the time they danced in the streets, sang, clapped and waved their nations’ flags. Hundreds of thousands of people swayed to the beat of the “Macarena”.
German Sarah Wang could hardly contain her excitement.
“You always see him on TV or in pictures. It’s so exciting that he’s actually in the same country [as me],” she said. “The last two days you are waiting for him, but now it’s so different. That’s the purpose why you’re here: to see the Pope and hear him.
Florence Pua, part of the Chinese-Filipino community in Manila, Philippines, said: “When you see the Pope, you feel like you’re Catholic. I want to see him so I can firm up my faith and detach myself from the things that are earthly.”
The Pope greeted the young people in Spanish, French, English, German, Italian, Portuguese and Polish.
In English he expressed his hope that “these days of prayer, friendship and celebration” would “bring us closer to each other and to the Lord Jesus. Make trust in Christ’s word the foundation of your lives.”
After the Gospel was sung in English the Pope gave the young people an in-depth introduction to the World Youth Day theme, “Rooted and Built up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the Faith”.
The Pope said that some words simply amuse or inform, but the words of Jesus “must reach our hearts, take root and bloom there all our lives”.
He asked the young people to listen to God’s word and allow it to become “a rule of life which likens us – poor in spirit, thirsting for justice, merciful, pure in heart, lovers of peace – to the person of Christ”. World Youth Day is an opportunity to know Christ better and “to make sure that, rooted in him, your enthusiasm and happiness, your desire to go further, to reach the heights, even God himself, always hold a sure future, because the fullness of life has already been placed within you”, he said.
The Pope asked the young to be steadfast in faith, but also to know that “in the face of our weaknesses which sometimes overwhelm us,
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Protesters confront youngsters on streets
PILGRIMS FACE PROTESTERS BY GRETCHEN ROWE
A PARADOX was alive in the streets of Madrid last week as hundreds of thousands of World Youth Day pilgrims shared the pavements with local protesters frustrated over Spain’s hosting – and, some believed, funding – of the week-long event in a time of economic turmoil.
A group of protesters broke into a run on the night of August 18 when police descended on a square near the historic Puerta del Sol (Gate of the Sun) plaza, causing bystanders to duck into the doorways of local bars and cafes. Police then barricaded the Calle Mayor, a main street in Madrid’s historic district, as a procession of black-clad pilgrims walked slowly, bearing a giant crucifix.
Flanked by police, participants holding tall candles and arranged in two long rows led the procession. A large group of pilgrims followed, holding the crucifix above their heads and pausing at intervals. Bringing up the rear was a band, in full uniform.
Crowds on the pavement – pilgrims and locals alike – snapped photos and took videos, and some applauded.
The scene served as a preview of the 11th Station of the Way of the Cross on the evening of August 19, in which pilgrims carried pasos, or statues, used in Holy Week processions across Spain. Each statue originated in a different Spanish city, with the 11th Station, Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross, sculpted in 1942 by Francisco Palma Burgos of the port town of Malaga.
At various times throughout the August 16-21 World Youth Day, protesters – largely young out-of-work residents of Madrid – confronted young Catholics from around the world. Reactions to the protests among the pilgrims were mixed. Some chose to counter the demonstrations with chants of their own, and others prayed.
Dave Myszkiewicz and Robert Zygadlo, both from Edmonton, Canada, said they responded with chants of “Viva Papa” and “Benedicto” when a group of protesters entered Puerta del Sol with antipapal signs and a mock popemobile.
Maylis Du Plessis, 22, of France: “I pray for everybody. It’s sad that when we are all gathered for Jesus, that people are still protesting, even if they don’t have the choice. I didn't expect it for my first visit to Madrid, to see all the protests.”
Lilly Cozzoleno, 21, from Naples, called police when she witnessed protesters in Puerto del Sol on August 17.
“Sometimes we were very afraid... but they did not attack me,” she said.
Despite her fear, Miss Cozzoleno said the only way to react to the protests was “with peace, only peace... Jesus taught us this, so I think this is the better way of life”.
Delegates from the Philippines were not so lucky. Some experienced a “jarring” cultural shock after being harassed by hostile protesters, reported the Asian Church news agency UCA News.
The report said the harassment ranged from chants to obscenities, with some incidents leading to a verbal confrontation.
Two Filipino delegates from Dubai – Chris Asero, 28, and Rome Jarlego, 27 – said they were walking in Madrid on August 17 when they saw protesters harassing Italian, German and French pilgrims.
“Some were already cursing. Their placards were really derogatory,” Mr Asero said.
Mr Jarlego said the protesters were against government spending for World Youth Day. They wanted that money to be given to poor countries like Somalia or even Spain itself, which is facing its own economic crisis over debt.
Spain’s government has said the cost of hosting World Youth Day, including extra security, was being paid for by private funds and donations.
Pope Benedict greets the cheering crowd at the welcoming ceremony in Plaza de Cibeles, Madrid CNS/Paul Haring we can rely on the mercy of the Lord who is always ready to help us again and who offers us pardon in the Sacrament of Penance”.
He said some people “take it upon themselves to decide what is true or not, what is good and evil, what is just and unjust, who should live and who can be sacrificed in the interests of other preferences”.
Such people claim to be living a life free from every constraint, but their lives have no mooring and no clear horizon, he said. They are lost.
The 84-year-old Pope urged the young people to be “prudent and wise, build your lives upon the firm foundation which is Christ” so that “nothing will make you fear, and peace will reign in your hearts”.
He added: “Then you will be blessed and happy and your happiness will influence others. They will wonder what the secret of your life is” – and they, too, will discover Christ, your friend, brother and Lord, the Son of God incarnate, who gives meaning to all the universe. Gretchen Crowe contributed to this story
Ordinariate deacon sings Gospel in front of Pope and young people
SINGING AT THE OPENING LITURGY BY JAMES BRADLEY
JUST under a month ago I was having supper with a friend when a text message arrived from Fr Stephen Langridge. “James,” it said, “I’ve arranged for you to read the Gospel at the welcoming ceremony for the Pope at WYD. Let me know if that’s a problem.”
Once I had regained consciousness and got back up on my chair, I replied that I would be more than happy to help and last Thursday evening, in Madrid, that amazing opportunity became a reality.
After hours of liturgical rehearsals, sound checks and walk-throughs I thought I was more than ready for the liturgy, but I’m not sure that anything would have adequately prepared me for the sheer joy which echoed around the streets of the city.
As the papal entourage entered Plaza de Cibeles, more than half a million young adults from five continents erupted with cheers of welcome: “Viva! Viva!” faithful to the Church, hungry for Christ, and with a deep respect for the papacy, the volume showed just how vibrant and alive the Catholic Church is among the young, and especially how much they love and revere Pope Benedict.
After a welcome from the
The Pope blesses Deacon James Bradley Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk
Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, the Holy Father was presented with gifts from around the world before introducing the Gospel itself. As the Alleluia began the Book of the Gospels was led by candles, palms and olive branches on to the platform.
Somebody asked me what struck me when I asked the Holy Father for his blessing. All I can really say is that I recognised immediately the genuineness of his generosity and care for the Church. This is something we have all seen in his exemplary renewal of the liturgy and his offer of corporate reunion for Anglicans, not in some distant sense but in a real and tangible way. He is truly a shepherd and pastor and his very person emphasises that.
That sense of unity, and with particular reference to my own new ecclesial situation, was evident too in the providential Gospel text. As the Pope’s homily highlighted, we are challenged to build our lives on Christ, within and through his Church; “planted in Jesus Christ; firm in the faith”. It is my prayer that the erection of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham enables others to embrace that call in the fullest possible way.
After the Holy Father had departed for the nunciature a priest told me that I should think about the experience often, remembering that God had used my voice to let millions hear his word. I know all too well how unworthy I
am to fulfil that task myself, but to have assisted in this way – with and alongside the Holy Father and in the presence of so many faithful young Catholics – will always help me to remember that it is with and through Christ and his Church, in full communion and peace with the Rock of Peter, that the work of the Gospel is carried out; may many others respond to his call. Deacon James Bradley is a transitional deacon of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and was in Madrid with the Quo Vadis? vocations exploration group, coordinated by Fr Stephen Langridge Mary OʼRegan: Page 8
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WORLD YOUTH DAY
Strive to be saints, Pope urges seminarians
PAPAL MASS FOR SEMINARIANS BY CINDY WOODEN
SEMINARIANS preparing seriously for the priesthood should devote themselves to becoming saints, Pope Benedict XVI said at World Youth Day.
He gave them a role model: St John of Avila, who will become the 34th Doctor of the Church.
At the end of a Mass with some 6,000 seminarians from around the world last Saturday the Pope announced he would soon add the 16thcentury Spanish saint to the short list of saints formally recognised for making a significant mark on Catholic theology through their teaching and writing. His remarks were greeted with sustained applause in Madrid’s Almudena Cathedral.
Pope Benedict entrusted all the seminarians, as well as priests and bishops, to the intercession of St John, a master of spirituality and a renowned preacher.
“As they persevere in the same faith which he taught, may they model their hearts on that of Jesus Christ the good shepherd,” the Pope prayed.
Pope Benedict did not say when he would make the formal proclamation.
The 33rd saint honoured with the title was St Thérèse of Lisieux. It was during World Youth Day in Paris in 1997 that Blessed John Paul II made the announcement: the formal ceremony was held at the Vatican two months later.
The Doctors of the Church are all saints and come from both the Eastern and Western Church traditions. They include early Church Fathers l ike St Jerome, St John Chrysostom and St Augustine, as well as major theologians l ike St Thomas Aquinas, St Bonaventure and St John of the Cross. In addition to St Thérèse of Lisieux, the women Doctors of the Church are St Catherine of Siena and St Teresa of Avila.
Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said that a date for the ceremony has not been set.
He described St John of Avila (1500-1569) as “a great master of priestly spirituality” and an important influence on Spanish Catholic luminaries like St Ignatius of Loyola, St Francis Xavier, St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross.
“He was one of the important figures of the golden age of Spanish spirituality,” Fr Lombardi said.
During the Mass for seminarians attending World Youth Day Pope Benedict said the young men preparing for priesthood are “proof of how Christ continues to call young disciples and to make them his apostles”.
Pope Benedict told the students that their time in the seminary “should be years of interior silence, of unceasing prayer, of constant study” and gradual introduction into pastoral activities.
But prayer, study and pastoral activity are not enough, he said. Seminarians must strive for holiness.
Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Mass with seminarians in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Almudena, Madrid CNS photo/Alessia Giuliani
“The holiness of the Church is, above all, the objective holiness of the very person of Christ,” the Pope said, and “we have to be saints so as not to create a contradiction between the sign that we are and the reality that we wish to signify”. Seminarians must be open to the grace of the Holy Spirit that will help them decide to live a life of celibacy, s implicity and obedience, he said. “Approach the priesthood only i f you a r e f i rmly convinced that God is calling you to be his ministers, and if you are completely determined to exercise it in obedience to the Church’s precepts,” the Pope said.
THE MOOD at World Youth Day changed dramatically last Friday evening as Pope Benedict XVI and hundreds of thousands of young people turned their thoughts to suffering.
The vividly painted, graphic statues that illustrated each station of Jesus’s
Passion and death were accompanied by meditations focused on individuals, groups and nations enduring serious suffering today.
Many young people read along in special prayer books included in pilgrim backpacks.
Many had arrived hours early, standing in the hot sun to stake out a place near the papal platform in Plaza de Cibeles or in front of the paso or one of the station-statues set up along a main street leading to the plaza.
The meditations included
Benedict XVI walks Way of the Cross with young people POPE LEADS THE WAY OF THE CROSS BY CINDY WOODEN AND GRETCHEN ROWE
prayers for the defence of human life, for peace in the Holy Land and other areas where there is conflict, for the victims of natural disasters, for the unemployed, for those who suffer racial discrimination or religious persecution, for those with alcohol or drug addictions and for the victims of sexual abuse.
A cross was carried from one station-statue to another by young people from countries or situations where there is suffering.
They included Iraqis,
immigrants, recovering drug addicts, unemployed and people from Rwanda and Burundi.
The paso depicting the ninth station, Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments, included a prayer for victims of sexual abuse.
A few days earlier, Jenny McGuire, 18, of the Irish Diocese of Ferns, said that years of revelations of clerical abuse of children had caused most Irish Catholics to lose faith in the institution of the Church rather than their faith in God.
“It’s not that they don’t believe in Jesus or that they don’t have faith in Jesus,” she said, “but it’s the institution of the Church and the priests that they’re losing faith in. It’s not that they’re completely nonreligious. There still is strong faith in Ireland.”
Seamus Sutton of County Wexford agreed, adding that World Youth Day, including the Way of the Cross, was a healing opportunity for pilgrims.
“I see this as a reconciliation with the Church and with how these people are serving
God and what I’m following,” he said. Lauren O’Reilley, also from County Wexford, said that the abuse allegations had been especially hard for the Irish priests “that are so good”.
“People in Ireland are losing their faith, especially young people,” she said. “It’s nice to see all of us coming together to see that people still have faith.”
In his remarks at the end of the service Pope Benedict acknowledged that everyone knows suffering, but he urged the young people to focus on
Christ’s suffering out of love for all humanity and to imitate that love by committing themselves to alleviating the suffering of others.
Pope Benedict said that meditating on Christ’s Passion and death should lead Christians to ask: “What can we do for him?”
“Christ’s Passion urges us to take upon our own shoulders the sufferings of the world, in the certainty that God is not distant or far removed from man and his troubles” because Christ became human himself,
enduring suffering and death, the Pope told the young people.
The Pope prayed that Christ’s love would “increase your joy and encourage you to go in search of those less fortunate. You are open to the idea of sharing your lives with others, so be sure not to pass by on the other side” of the road “in the face of human suffering, for it is here that God expects you to give of your very best: your capacity for love and compassion.” Jack Valero: Page 12
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Scholars need humility, Pope tells professors
POPE MEETS YOUNG ACADEMICS BY CAROL GLATZ
POPE BENEDICT XVI’s meetings with young religious women and young university professors, held in the same complex, had very different tones.
The Sisters and nuns gathered in the sunny courtyard of the Basilica of St Lawrence, while the professors gathered inside the imposing stone basilica.
The young consecrated women were exuberant, singing and chanting. Most of them stood on their plastic chairs when the Pope entered. The young professors talked quietly before the Pope arrived and remained standing on the floor when the Pope entered; they were in a church, after all. The Pope was once a young professor himself, and much of his advice to the scholars was based on personal experience.
Too many universities are training the young for a profession without helping them to learn to seek and to love knowledge and truth and what it means to be created in God’s image, Pope Benedict said.
Catholics teaching in universities are part of a centuries-long chain of men and women committed to teaching the faith and making it credible to human reason, he said.
It’s not enough to be an expert in your subject, the Pope told the professors. The path to the fullness of truth calls for complete commitment: a path of understanding and love, of reason and faith.
Scholars must have humility, he said. “We must not draw students to ourselves, but set them on the path toward the truth; which we seek together.” While the mood was more effervescent in the courtyard with the Sisters and nuns, the Pope’s message was no less challenging.
Pope Benedict told the young religious: “In a world of relativism and mediocrity, we need that radicalism to which your consecration, as a way of belonging to God who is loved above all things, bears witness.”
Through their lives and vows religious become a “living exegesis” or explanation of God’s word of love and salvation.
“Your lives must testify to the personal encounter with Christ which has nourished your consecration, and to all the transforming power of that encounter,” he said.
“The Church needs your youthful fidelity, rooted and built up in Christ,” he told them before intoning the Lord’s Prayer in Latin. As the high, light voices of the Sisters filled the courtyard, the Pope sang more and more quietly.
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