Archive for the World Youth Day Category

World Youth Day – Part IV

Posted in Baseball, John Paul II, Liturgy, World Youth Day with tags , , , on November 13, 2009 by sjdemoor85

In order to understand the size and potential power of a World Youth Day, conjure ‘the’ common Americana experience. Perhaps the only American born experience that even remotely approaches the immensity of a World Youth Day is a professional sporting event, or a very large concert. Many, if not all Americans, have at one point in their life attended one or the other. Now with America’s pastime being baseball, and the average capacity of ballparks near 50,000 people, let us use this image to dream. Now picture your last ballpark experience, then multiply that image by 40. This sea of people in your mind is what you begin to approach for the final World Youth Day liturgical experience, the closing mass!

*Addendum* Personally, Coors Field is the state of Colorado’s home ballpark, which can hold 50,454 people. Conceptualizing 40 Coors Field’s side-by-side brings the Church’s size and potential into perspective. But now imagine how many Coors Fields the Catholic Church would need to build to host the 1 billion baptized Catholics at Sunday mass every week? 20,000 in case you were wondering. I digress…

Read on: Without any hesitation at all, the best experiences of my life have been at World Youth Day. By God’s grace, I was blessed with the opportunity to attend Paris, Rome, Toronto, and Cologne’s World Youth Day growing up. No college degree or crash course on the faith could have taught me more about my Catholic heritage. Without a doubt, the power of attending one mass with two million people has helped fortify my love for Christ and the Church he founded upon the Rock.

Way of the Cross

Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/Getty Images Aug 16, 2005

Spreading the sea of the lay faithful is the Cross at the closing mass. The Cross pictured to the right was given to the youth at the first World Youth Day in Rome, in 1986, by John Paul II. Since that time it has journeyed millions of miles to remind all, of God’s love for us. As the millions descend upon ‘the fields’ for the final liturgy, this cross focuses the crowds and makes its way to the altar where the pope presides over the holy sacrifice of the mass.

Prior to beginning this four day series on World Youth Day, ambitions to encapsulate the experience into a compact, understandable, and succinct package was the dream. But it is just too good. Too much holiness in a single place. Too much passion for authenticity all at once. I mean think about it, imagine a communion line that is a half mile long people? That is holiness. That is faith! That is World Youth Day. Young (and chaperones too!) lovers of truth! True joy. Jovial hope for a better world when they leave that sea of pilgrims. If God can bring 2,000,000 young people to one spot from the death grip of this culture, then He can do anything! We face the darkest hours in the 21st century, and it may become even darker. For all who read this, consider attending World Youth Day. If you want hope for the future, an experience of authentic love that you can reference for the rest of your life, then go to World Youth Day, preferably the next one in Spain, 2011! Click on the picture below for the link to the website. God Bless, ‘rise, let us be on our way.’

World Youth Day - Germany

© 2009 Diocese of Paisley


World Youth Day – Part III

Posted in John Paul II, World Youth Day with tags , , on November 12, 2009 by sjdemoor85

To catch yourself up to speed on World Youth Day’s history, consider reading Part I & II from the previous two days, which can be found below. If you want to dive right into the actual experience of being at a World Youth Day, then press on.

St. Peter’s Square, 1986, 300,000 young lay faithful, descended upon the Vatican, to heed John Paull II’s call: “Always be prepared to make a defence to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you (1 Pet 3:15).” This was the message that echoed through the colonnades of St. Peter’s Basilica at that first World Youth Day. Now, twenty-three years later, the spirit of World Youth Day carries on. The Second Vatican Council’s original salutation to the youth, and a Pope’s unrelenting guidance, brought this Catholic pilgrimage to Rome two times, Argentina, Spain, Poland, Denver(!), the Philippines (largest), France, Canada, Germany, Australia, and before you know it, Spain, in the summer of 2011.

Yes, the Catholic faith is everywhere, because the body of Christ is everywhere. We span the globe. No continent has gone untouched by the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Notice the third mark of the Church in the Nicene Creed, penned in 325 AD, at the Council of Nicea, Catholic. What does Catholic mean? Universal. What is meant by universal? “Hence the universal Church is seen to be ‘a people brought into unity from the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (CC 810).'” As Catholics, we have been endowed by God through the Church, with His Son and the Holy Spirit. By our baptism, we enter into this communion, which manifests in full at World Youth Day.

Arriving at a World Youth Day experience for a pilgrim does not begin in an indescribable sea of  a million young Catholics, but rather in a smaller gathering five days prior in a dioceses outside the host city. In preparation for that gathering of millions, this time of ‘Days in the Dioceses,’ or also known as ‘Days of Encounter,’ is a place where pilgrims connect on a deeper level with other Catholics from around the world. Whether its a three hour mass due to translation adjustments, or a night of African dancing, pilgrims delve deeper into their faith through the exposure to many Catholic cultures.

It may also be a time when one may pray for ‘the rush of a mighty wind, so that tongues of fire might descend and allow one to speak in other tongues.’ This prayer and fruition of tongues would be an incredible blessing. For the universality of the Church, and diversity of languages awakes and at times confuses eyes and ears alike. For instance, in Germany, the other Catholic pilgrims that were assigned to our dioceses included Mexico, Lithuania, and Tanzania, just to name a few. Despite language barriers, although much of the world now speaks fluent English, pilgrims of all nations unite under Jesus Christ. ‘For wherever two are gathered in my name, I am present.’

To paint the picture of diversity, universality, the Catholic Church, simply scan the palette of world flags below. This is your greeting at World Youth Day as the millions descend from five days of encounter with the richness of the faith! Imagine the power behind this gathering. Return for more, as the charter buses and vans carry the millions of pilgrims from the surrounding dioceses to the host city, in preparation for the arrival of Peter’s successor.

WYD crowes

World Youth Day – Part II

Posted in John Paul II, Second Vatican Council, World Youth Day on November 11, 2009 by sjdemoor85

World Youth Day

Yes, fields of the world have, and will continue to host the largest gathering of youth this earth has ever seen. This call to a communal Catholic festival every three years was conceived by the Second Vatican Council, now called World Youth Day. Do you know what a council is? To stay on track, lets just say important decisions are made at councils that affect the entire Church. The Catholic Church is 2,000 years old. There have been 21 councils of the Church, so about every 100 years the Pope convenes one, that is not very often. Now if you look back into the archives of the Second Vatican Council documents, which took place from 1962-1965, its closing documents are a direct call to the young lay faithful. Here is one excerpt.

‘Lastly, it is to you, young men and women of the world, that the Council wishes to address its FINAL message. For four years the Church has been working to rejuvenate her image in order to respond better to the design of her Founder, the great Living One, the Christ who is eternally young. Look upon the Church and you will find in her the face of Christ, the genuine, humble, and wise Hero, the Prophet of truth and love, the Companion and Friend of youth.’ ~  Drawn from final message of the Second Vatican Council ~

Clearly, the message’s mass is dense. The picture is focused. The ‘call’ is ringing. And twenty five years later, Pope John Paul II answered the Second Vatican convocation, by inviting all youth of the world to join him at the first ever World Youth Day, in 1986. The Second Vatican Council was the foundation for World Youth Day’s continued growth. From it’s humble beginnings of 300,000 participants in Rome, to its largest of 4,000,000 plus in Manila, World Youth Day took flight by John Paul II’s guidance, and the Second Vatican Council’s spirit.

So why a field? Why millions of human beings laughing, sharing, praying, crying, and worshipping together? The simple answer, we are one body. We are the Catholic Church. We are universal. And we literally have sunken roots in the most and least likely places on earth. World Youth Day is the one liturgy, once every three years, where the Pope, the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ, and the humble servant to the Church, presides over the breaking of the bread with millions. The liturgical field of worship, the mass, is the apex of World Youth Day’s celebration, but there is more…

World Youth Day – Part I

Posted in Liturgy, World Youth Day with tags , , on November 10, 2009 by sjdemoor85

Liturgically, World Youth Day must be one of the most spectacular celebrations during a pontiff’s service to the Church. For the public witness entirely shatters the world’s mold of Catholic worship. Tragically though, dear friends within my generation grow increasingly skeptical and indignant with their perceived royalty of the Catholic Church and its 2,000 year old worship. The bells, the smells, the crosiers and mitres, are the outward signs that fuel their illiterate notions. However, to avoid going afield with this sticker, defending the rich depth of the Catholic liturgy must await another day. But we must be aware that liturgical illiteracy and respect continues its unfettered course in 2009; I literally know the evidence. Of course Catholics have the chapels and basilicas, the vestments and mitres, but we also have 2 million young people sleeping under the stars, awaiting the holy sacrifice of the Mass! This is the leaping point from which World Youth Day will be explored in future posts, Mass with the Holy Father in plush fields of the young lay faithful. Come back for further exploration into this liturgical festival, into this too-well-kept secret of Catholic tradition. World Youth Day