Monday, May 30, 2016

Countdown to World Youth Day: How You Can Be Like The Apostles

Dear kind young friends,

I am very happy to share with you some of my reflections on World Youth Day that was began by dear Pope Saint John Paul II in 1986. I had the privilege of being present at six of these beautiful World Celebrations of Catholic Youth. The last World Youth that I attended was in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in 2013. I am planning to be present with all of you at the next World Youth Day that will take place in 2016 in Krakow, Poland, the home of Saint John Paul II.

Saint John Paul II left a rich spiritual legacy for youth, with his institution of World Youth Day. Pope Benedict XVI faithfully continued to carry on the hope and care of his predecessor for the youth of the world, and Pope Francis is doing the same, inviting and commissioning Youth as Christ disciples to be faithful living witnesses. One of the great blessings that flow from World Youth Day is the bringing together of young people from all parts of marvelous planet Earth. At most World Youth Days that I have attended, there have been youth from about two-hundred countries from the entire world. This great coming together of youth helps all of us achieve that great goal that Christ, and our Popes, wants for all of us and that is that we will be one with Christ in love, as He is one with His heavenly Father. We are all God's children and Christ calls us to be His brothers and sisters.

World Youth Day provides the occasion and inspiration for us to grow in our love, support and care, for all who make up the body of Christ. Upon His return from World Youth Day from Rio Janeiro in 2013, Pope Francis said, "We must never forget that World Youth Days are not fireworks displays", flashes of enthusiasm, nor an end in themselves: rather they are stages of a long joyful faith journey begun in 1985 at the initiative of Saint John Paul II.

Young people, I plan to be with you in Krokow, Poland for World Youth Day in 2016. As we approach this beautiful celebration in the Archdiocese and country from which dear Pope Saint John Paul II came from, this is the occasion for all of us to remember the many messages that dear Saint John Paul II gave us at the first and many other World Youth Days that he celebrated with the Youth.

To end my reflection, let me share with you some reflections from Saint John Paul II at World Youth Day that was held in December 1993. He spoke powerful words that energized young Americans to take up the cause of life: "At this stage in history the liberating of the Gospel life has been put into your hands. And the mission of proclaiming it to the ends of the Earth is now passing to your generation- Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into the public places like the first Apostles, who preached Christ and the good news of salvation of the Gospel." My dear young friends let us pray for all young people on planet earth, and for God's blessing upon the next World Youth Day.


Bishop Michael Pfeifer, Bishop Emeritus of San Angelo

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