Print Version    Email to Friend
One Church where young people are not from Mars

MADRID (SE): “Faith is a decisive factor in each person’s life,” Antonio Stanislaw Cardinal Rylko, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the hosting body for this year’s World Youth Day, told hundreds of thousands of young people basking in the respite of an inky, cloudless sky as the burning rays of a hot afternoon sun gave way to the stars as the opening Mass got underway in the Plaza de Cibeles in downtown Madrid, Spain, on August 16.

“Everything changes according to whether God exists or not. Faith is like a root that is nourished by the lifeblood of the word of God and the sacraments,” the cardinal continued.

“You have come to say aloud to the whole world—and in particular Europe, which is showing signs of becoming really lost—your unwavering yes! Yes, faith is possible,” he stated.

Cardinal Rylko added, “It is in fact a wonderful adventure that allows us to discover the magnitude and beauty of our lives. This is because God, revealed in the face of Christ, does not put human beings down. God exalts us beyond all measures and beyond our wildest imagination.”

In his welcoming address he encouraged the worldwide gathering of young Catholic people not to be afraid. “Choose to have Christ in your lives and to possess the precious pearl of the gospel for which it is worthwhile giving everything.”

The archbishop of the host diocese of Madrid, Antonio Cardinal Rouco Varela, said that young people are looking for Christ. “Letting yourselves be found by him is the key to the success of World Youth Day.

“It will be your success. Young people of the 21st century, even more than previous generations, need to find the Lord through the only path that has proven effective spiritually; the humble and simple pilgrim seeking his face,” Cardinal Varela said.

The secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Archbishop Joseph Tobin, told CNS that World Youth Day can be the one Church where young people have the necessary time, space and camaraderie to ponder the way God wants them to be in the Church and the world.

The archbishop said that often young people are treated like they come from another planet in their parishes.

“They can find themselves… on the margins of things, with a lot of people who don’t speak their language, who treat them like they descended from Mars,” he said.

He added that he believes most young people run towards World Youth Day, not because they believe it will be easy, but because they believe it will be difficult.

“The optimist part of me says that on Nine/Eleven (2001) a lot of people were running away from the Twin Towers, but there were some others who were running toward them,” he said, naming the police, firefighters, medics, support and media crews.

He added that in a Church rocked by scandal, where the anger is incandescent, “There are still young people running toward it. Its the crazy logic of losing your life to save it,” he concluded.

More from this section