World Youth Day is another chance to meet Christ, to bear witness to his presence in today’s society, and to become builders of the civilization of love and truth.
“Yes, now is the time for mission! In your Dioceses and parishes, in your movements, associations and communities, Christ is calling you.
The Church welcomes you and wishes to be your home and your school of communion and prayer. Study the Word of God and let it enlighten your minds and hearts. Draw strength from the sacramental grace of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Visit the Lord in that ‘heart to heart’ contact that is Eucharistic Adoration. Day after day, you will receive new energy to help you to bring comfort to the suffering, and peace to the world.
Many people are wounded by life: they are excluded from economic progress, and are without a home, a family, a job; there are people who are lost in a world of false illusions, or have abandoned all hope.” [Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day Message, 2002]
Part of our mission is to pray for the heads of state and ministers of the G-8 countries that they will provide inspired leadership. We also pray for all those who will visit Calgary and Kananaskis for encounters designed to encourage the growth of social and environmental justice, peace and global good governance. The commitment of so many people, especially youth, to the resolution of the world’s most pressing social problems is a sign of hope for our world. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” [Mt. 5:6] and “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” [Mt. 5:9]
It is becoming increasingly clear that our world has become a global community or village. The phenomenon of globalization has its own logic, but not its own ethic. Both technology and globalization press to cross the next stream, to climb the next mountain, to conquer the next field. But this is not like a force of nature that cannot be moved, shaped and developed. How we shape it and who will direct the shaping of it is the ethical key.
You are the salt of the earth ... You are the light of the world, the theme of WYD, reminds us that we have a contribution to make. Our ways of living and thinking are different from many of our contempor-aries. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your minds, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” [Rom.12:2]
For us, no political or economic system, whether municipal, provincial, national or international, is self-justified: all social systems must be tested by what they do to and for the dignity of each person.
We match the notion of personal human dignity with the concept of the universal human community. Although we recognize regions, nation states with their boundaries and borders and structures across the world, the fundamental moral unit is the human being in community.
Between the person and the community lies the fabric of rights and duties. The disciples of Jesus measure and direct that fabric by a series of refined specific concepts; the common good, the option for the poor, subsidiarity and solidarity.
We have the task of standing as the sign and safeguard of the transcendent dignity of each person. So that whatever threatens that dignity becomes our business. Free from any political alliance, we are deeply immersed in the social arena and willing to engage in dialogue with the world. We have something to teach and much to learn.
“In this secularized age, when many of our contemporaries think and act as if God did not exist or are attracted to irrational forms of religion, it is you, dear young people, who must show that faith is a personal decision which involves your whole life. Let the Gospel be the measure and guide of life’s decisions and plans! Then you will be missionaries in all that you do and say, and wherever you work and live you will be signs of God’s love, credible witnesses to the loving presence of Jesus Christ. Never forget: No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a bushel.” [Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day Message, 2002]
In an attempt to make our diocese resound with the joyful tidings that Christ loves every person and brings to fulfilment every trace of goodness, beauty and truth found in the city of man, we have organized an ambitious series of events from the Passion Play in Drumheller, July 18 to a Social Justice Project, July 21. The high point will be the ordination to the priesthood of four deacons at McMahon Stadium on July 19.
Come and tell the world of the happiness you have found in meeting Jesus Christ, of your desire to know him better, of how you are committed to proclaiming the Gospel of salvation to the ends of the earth!
☩ Frederick Henry