Day 9, Aug. 1, 2016
The ceremonies of World Youth Day are complete, and we have all made it home. It was a crazy but amazing 10 days, full of nonstop activity, and some of the teens are already back in school for the fall semester. Where has the summer gone?
So, now that the official event is over, what does that mean for us? In his final address, during Sunday mass, Pope Francis told us that we should actually think of the closing mass as the true beginning of World Youth Day, emphasizing that we MUST bring the message of WYD back home with us. As we sat at the airport, (way too early in the morning) our group discussed what that meant and how the looked for each of us. We asked everyone to try to nail down the one thing that affected us the most during this experience and decide how that one thing was calling each of us to action. As you can imagine, after 10 days, it’s hard to narrow it down to one thing, but our teens and parents are a great group, and the answers did not disappoint. They ranged from being open and sharing about the trip on a deep, spiritual level to being more conscientious of the desire in our hearts to receive the Eucharist.
On a personal level, my call to action came from one of the addresses of Pope Francis. He spoke about laziness and the problem that it presents. He said, “you are meant to make a mark on the world, not your couch. Stop being couch potatoes.” That statement hit me in a profound way. It is such a simple concept, but it was absolutely something that I needed to hear. So often, if find myself spending entire days stagnant, playing video games, watching movies, on my phone, etc… It’s easy to rationalize such things by saying something to the effect of, “it was a tough day/week at work.” or “I just need a break.” However, what Pope Francis was getting to with his previously mentioned statement was that when “making the mark on the world” we need to be interacting with other people, and that the human interaction is what will bring us joy.
When you start thinking about it, it’s so true! For all that time spent watching movies and playing games, there is no fulfillment to be found. Does it feel good to beat a tough level? Sure. Is seeing a movie with someone bad? No. (I’m going to see Ghostbusters tonight.) However, when you look at those things compared to time spent with others striving to achieve something, there’s no comparison. In listening to the Pope’s words, my resolution is to cut down on those “couch potato” moments and to fill the new found time with intentional time spent with friends and family.
It’s hard to try to wrap things up and put a “bow” on such a powerful trip. We saw and experienced so many things that it doesn’t seem sufficient to type a few lines and call it a day. This was a pilgrimage that change most, if not all of us, in a profound way. We experienced something that few will every have the opportunity to experience, sharing our faith with 2.5 million other Catholics from all around the world. When you look across a field and see nothing but people, for as far as you can see, all there to celebrate their faith, you can’t help but be changed. Something clicks. You see the true universality of our faith, and there is no turning back from that.
This trip would not have been possible without the support of our amazing parish, donors, Msgr. Marren, everyone working behind the scenes, and you. I speak for all the pilgrims when I say thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. Thank you for your support. Thank you for reading these blogs. Thank you for everything you do, that you have done, or that you plan to do for the youth of All Saints. I am humbled to be part of such a wonderful community. Please continue praying for us, and we will do the same for you.