Cardinal Francis George of Chicago affirms World Youth Day is a privileged venue that shows the Church’s preferential option for youth, and a time for young Catholics to experience their communion with the pope as their ‘Father in Christ.’
Why am I going? I am going to World Youth Day, as I’ve gone to every WYD since becoming a bishop in 1990, because the Church has a preferential option for youth, and WYD is a privileged venue for meeting and talking with young people.
I hope that the young people from the Chicago Archdiocese will get a sense of the universality of the Church in meeting young people from around the world in Madrid. I especially hope they will meet young people from lands where the Church is overtly persecuted. I also hope, of course, that they will draw closer to Christ in meeting his friends.
I think the gift that young people bring is themselves. They will also bring an enthusiasm and eagerness that is evident here [Chicago] when they come together. They will share the way the faith is lived, especially in parishes, here with those who live the faith in very different circumstances.
The arrival of the Holy Father is always a privileged moment in every WYD. He is a sign of our unity in faith, and the young people respond to him and to what he represents. He is their Father in Christ.
The aftermath of WYD is seen in a renewed strengthening of the faith and of youth ministry in the parishes. Young people share their faith more courageously because they have participated in WYD.
+Francis Cardinal George, OMI
Archbishop of Chicago, Illinois, USA