Laura Durocher, Michigan Catholics president and Peer Ministry Intern at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, Michigan shares the following thoughts about today's Global Celebration of Young People:
This Sunday – the Feast of Christ the King – is also recognized by the church as the Annual Global Celebration of Youth and Young Adults. Pope Francis announced this year’s theme to be “Rejoicing in Hope.” As a young adult with many years ahead of me – God willing – hope is a concept that I contemplate often.
This past summer, I was struggling to find hope, when the opportunity to go on a pilgrimage fell into my lap. I had the privilege of being able to travel to Portugal for World Youth Day, which is a week-long gathering of young Catholics from around the world. While in Portugal, I was blessed to be able to stay with a wonderful Portuguese host family, travel to Fatima, get blessed by the Holy Father, and listen to him preach. On our final full day in Portugal, it was a sunny 100 degrees and 1.5 million young people were setting up camp for a night of sleeping outside. It was utter chaos. People were talking in every language you can think of, running around looking for a place to stay, and trying to shade themselves from the intense afternoon sun.
Yet, in the midst of all the chaos, Pope Francis arrived and exposed the Blessed Sacrament and – all of a sudden – chaos turned into order. In an instant, those same young people dropped to their knees on a rocky terrain in complete adoration and love for Our Lord in the Eucharist. You could have heard a pin drop from a mile away. Such an immense display of the faith of my peers brought me hope. Hope that Christ is very much still alive in the hearts of a generation so often labeled as not religious. Hope that the future of the Church is in good hands. Hope that God has everything under control.
While serving as one of the Peer Ministry Interns this semester, I continue to encounter similar displays of faith which fill me with such immense hope. Whether it’s simply seeing the size of our undergraduate community, hearing about all the adversity students have overcome just to come to Mass, or having a friend tell me that they just participated in the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time in years, the depth of the faith among my peers here is astonishing and inspiring. There is so much joy and hope to be found in the witness of faith in the young Catholics all around us. I feel incredibly grateful to be able to attend a student parish that sacrifices so much of its time, treasure, and talent to keep that hope alive.
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