Monday, August 8, 2011

From California and Philadelphia a faith filled pilgrimage

Two bishops participating in World Youth Day for the first time explain the reasons why this time they “ain’t gonna miss it.” Auxiliary Bishop Rutilio del Riego is accompanying the youth from San Bernardino, California, to his native Spain in hopes they will have a deep and personal experience of the love of Christ for them and experience the Church universal. Auxiliary Bishop Michael Fitzgerald of Philadelphia hopes he and the young people from Philly will derive from their pilgrimage a deeper knowledge of their faith and greater sense of joy in practicing it.

A public testimony of faith in Christ
I have not been physically present in any prior WYD celebration but have always been amazed I at the impact previous WYD have had on those who took part in them. I am going to Madrid because I want to accompany and affirm our diocesan group of young people. I want to participate with young Catholics from around the world in a public testimony of faith in Christ, his teachings and his Church, expressing our communion with the bishops and the pope.
U.S. youth are bringing to Madrid their enthusiasm, their joy and positive spirit, and their technological savvy. In turn, I hope they have a deep experience of the presence and the love of Christ for them, and that this brings them closer to him. I hope they have a personal experience of the Church with all its gifts and ministries, and its unity and diversity. I hope they come back with a strong desire to live and proclaim the gospel of Jesus to others.

+Rutilio J. del Riego
Auxiliary Bishop of San Bernardino, California

A greater sense of joy in the practice of faith

This is my first World Youth Day. I am accompanying the youth from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on our diocesan pilgrimage to Madrid. They bring their enthusiasm for the life and an openness to service based upon their faith. I hope participation in WYD will give the youth from my diocese and from the world a deeper knowledge of their faith and the Church, and a greater sense of joy in practicing their Roman Catholic faith. It is important for young people to share their faith and to participate in the community of the Church. As Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have reminded us, young people are the hope and future of the Church.

+ Michael J. Fitzgerald
Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia

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