Monday, July 21, 2008

World Youth Day 2011: Madrid, Spain

By now most of you have heard that Pope Benedict has designated Madrid, Spain as the host city for World Youth Day 2011. Early reports from the Spanish Episcopal Conference are that the event is slated for August 15-21, 2011. If that report is true, those dates could pose some problems for Americans wishing to go, since many schools and universities in this country now start around that time. Also, I am sure that many are disappointed to hear that WYD '11 will be hosted yet again by a European city (the second time in Spain) even though WYD has never been held in Africa and it has been some time since it was held in Asia or South America. However, if we look closely at the situation of the Catholic Church in Spain and the increased antagonism towards the Church by the Zapatero government, not to mention the increasing secularism and embattled position of the Catholic Church and traditional Christian morality, WYD '11 has great potential to effect real progress in efforts to re-evangelize Spain. 

In an interview with Zenit Nineteen year-old Paola Callas said:

"It's so necessary that Madrid may be able to experience a living Church as we have done here in Sydney over this week," said Callas.

"People don't associate the Church with relevance, joy or even fun over in Spain," added Ramírez. "We have a lot of political upheavals and secularism taking over the contemporary climate so it would be relevant for youth to experience the truths of the Church in a package like that of World Youth Day."

This announcement must mean a lot and be very encouraging for Spanish Catholics who have surely been discouraged by what has transpired in their country over the past several years. 

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Friday, June 13, 2008

St Columbanus, on the front lines of mission, Synod of Bishops, and WYD social networking

I am back in Colorado Springs after a successful Making Disciples in Benet Lake, Wisconsin, but Fr Mike and Sherry are still on the road doing Called and Gifted teacher training at St. Isidore’s parish in Bloomingdale, Illinois.

There were a number of things worth looking at that came through this week: 

First, the Pope touched on evangelization during his weekly audience in which he discussed the Irish monk St Columbanus. The Pope summarized his address saying: 
"St. Columbanus' message focuses on a powerful call to conversion and detachment from worldly goods, with a view to the eternal reward. With his ascetic life and his uncompromising attitude to the corruption of the powerful, he evokes the severe figure of John the Baptist. Yet his austerity ... was only a means to open himself freely to the love of God and to respond with his entire being to the gifts received from Him, reconstructing the image of God in himself, and at the same time ploughing the earth and renewing human society".

"A man of great culture and rich in gifts of grace, both as a tireless builder of monasteries and as an uncompromising penitential preacher", the Pope concluded, Columbanus "spent all his energies to nourish the Christian roots of the nascent Europe. With his spiritual strength, with his faith, with his love of God and neighbour, he became one of the Fathers of Europe, showing us today the way to those roots from which our continent may be reborn".
The complete text is here

Also, Zenit had an interesting piece up about the Order of the Sisters of Adoration, Slaves of the Blessed Sacrament and of Charity and their work with women trapped in prostitution or who are victims of other forms of trafficking and exploitation. They are not only doing some very interesting outreach and mission work on the front lines of one of our greatest social evils, but they are finding their energy for this work in the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In fact, they say that "they find the same God in the Blessed Sacrament that they see in the girls with whom they work -- young women rescued from the prostitution trade." 

The full article is here

In preparation for the 12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops this fall, a working document entitled "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church" has been prepared and presented by the synod secretary. The secretary said that they synod 

"should foster knowledge and love of the word of God which is living, effective and penetrating, in order to rediscover the infinite goodness of God who reveals himself to man as friend, encounters him and invites him to communion."
"Moreover," he added, "through the word of God, there is the hope of reinforcing the ecclesial community, fomenting the universal vocation to salvation, reinforcing the mission to those who are close and those far away, renewing imaginative charity, and attempting to contribute to the search for solutions to the many problems of contemporary man, who is hungry both for bread as well as for every word that comes from the mouth of God."
It will be great to see what comes out of the synod. The complete story and link to the document is at Zenit.

Finally, the folks preparing for World Youth Day in Sydney have started a social networking site along the lines of Facebook so that the energy and friendships coming out of World Youth Day can be continued in cyberspace once the festivities down under are over. I imagine this will lead to some remarkable connectivity and friendship between young Catholics from all over the world well after the lights have gone out on WYD 2008. The site is Xt3.com. By the way, there are just 32 days to go before the festivities begin. 


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