July 31 2011
A WYD Prayer Newsletter
The Road to Madrid A faith journey for those who go and those who stay at home
A service from Church Resources
Subscribe to CathNews Perspectives The new, weekly email from CathNews For an in-depth look at World Youth Day 2011
Fifth of a series of six Newsletters
A WYD Prayer Newsletter
In this issue
The Road to WYD
SECTION 1: FOOD FOR PILGRIMS Prayers & reflections to sustain pilgrims as they travel the inner journey – on the road to Madrid or at home.
Santa Maria de la Sede Cathedral, Seville (built 1402 – 1506)
A pilgrim’s prayer – when the going gets tough
SECTION 2: WORLD YOUTH DAY
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, Lord, my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.
Experiences from earlier WYDs & getting the most out of WYD at home or abroad
Next issue: Our need for oxygen and prayer
SECTION 1: FOOD FOR PILGRIMS When the going gets tough Being a Christian does not ensure us a trouble-free passage through life. Often there are challenges beyond our control, events and circumstances we did not seek. There are times when we feel overwhelmed, inadequate, depressed, wanting to give up – these are the hard yards which everyone experiences in life. They can be painful times – but they are also times of growth. How to get through them? Dodge the pain? Turn back? Run away? Jesus shows us the way: ‘I am with you! Come follow me!’ Jesus, our Saviour, leads us through the pain into new life, into a new resurrection. Somehow, the unimaginable becomes manageable – and beneath all the pain there is a certain peace. When the going gets tough, turn to God and ask for help.
Trust in God’s Protection ‘Let nothing disturb thee; let nothing dismay thee. All things pass; God never changes. Patience attains all that it strives for. Those who have God find they lack nothing. God alone suffices!’ St Teresa of Avila
World Youth Day Cross ‘When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.’ (John 12:32) On Palm Sunday, 1984, at the first gathering of young people in Rome at the Pope’s invitation, John Paul II entrusted to youth the World Youth Day Cross with the commission to ‘carry it throughout the world as a symbol of Christ's love for humanity, and announce to everyone that only in the death and resurrection of Christ can we find salvation and redemption’. The cross, which is THE symbol of Christianity, has since been carried around the world, making a pilgrimage from parish to parish, diocese to diocese, and country to country. In 1994 the Cross began in earnest what has since become a tradition: its year long journey around the dioceses of the host nation of each international World Youth Day is a means of prayerful preparation for the big event. 4
Getting to know Jesus better Central to an understanding of Jesus is his death and resurrection. Though he was the Son of God, he chose to end his life stretched on a cross like a common criminal. St Paul said: ‘He emptied himself, taking the form of a slave.’ We need to get past the brutality of the crucifixion to the realisation that Jesus would stop at nothing in order to show his love for us. Prayer: ‘Lord Jesus, help me to understand all you have done for me! Help me to follow always in your footsteps.’
After death, resurrection ‘Jesus didn’t rise from the grave to baffle his opponents, to make a victory statement, or to prove to those who crucified him that he was right after all. Jesus rose as a sign to those who had loved him and followed him that God’s divine love is stronger than death. To the women and men who had committed themselves to him, he revealed that his mission had been fulfilled. To those who shared in his ministry, he gave the sacred task to call all people into the new life with him.’ - Henri Nouwen
Champions of the Faith:
Blessed John Paul II
1920 – 2005
During the Nazi occupation of Poland, Karol Józef Wojtyła worked in a quarry (1940-1944) and then in a chemical factory to avoid being deported to Germany. In 1942, aware of his call to the priesthood, he began courses in the clandestine seminary of Krakow, Elected Pope in 1978, John Paul II exercised his papal ministry during 27 years with tireless energy, making 104 pastoral visits outside Italy and 146 within Italy. As bishop of Rome, he visited 317 of the city's 333 parishes. More than 17,600,000 pilgrims attended his weekly Wednesday audiences. His love for young people brought him to establish World Youth Day - 19 WYDs were celebrated during his pontificate and brought together millions of young people from all over the world. His most important documents include 14 Encyclicals, 15 Apostolic Exhortations, 11 Apostolic Constitutions, 45 Apostolic Letters as well as five books of his own. He was declared Blessed by Pope Benedict XVI on May 1, 2011.
SECTION 2 WYD EXPERIENCES
WYD week is hard
Inspiration from WYD Sydney 2008 The Theme for WYD Sydney: ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.’ (Acts 1:8). Pope Benedict XVI addressed the crowds: ‘But what is this “power” of the Holy Spirit? It is the power of God’s life! It is the power of the same Spirit who hovered over the waters at the dawn of creation and who, in the fullness of time, raised Jesus from the dead. It is the power which points us, and our world, towards the coming of the Kingdom of God. ‘Here in Australia, this “great south land of the Holy Spirit”, all of us have had an unforgettable experience of the Spirit’s presence and power in the beauty of nature. Our eyes have been opened to see the world around us as it truly is: “charged”, as the poet says, “with the grandeur of God”, filled with the glory of his creative love. ‘Yet this power, the grace of the Spirit, is not something we can merit or achieve, but only receive as pure gift. God’s love can only unleash its power when it is allowed to change us from within. We have to let it break through the hard crust of our indifference, our spiritual weariness, our blind conformity to the spirit of this age. ‘That is why prayer is so important: daily prayer, private prayer in the quiet of our hearts and before the Blessed Sacrament, and liturgical prayer in the heart of the Church. Prayer is pure receptivity to God’s grace, love in action, communion with the Spirit who dwells within us, leading us, through Jesus, in the Church, to our heavenly Father. In the power of his Spirit, Jesus is always present in our hearts, quietly waiting for us to be still with him, to hear his voice, to abide in his love, and to receive “power from on high”, enabling us to be salt and light for our world.’
I must confess: I didn’t get the emotional high people talk about from WYD; it wasn’t a transfiguration experience for me. What is was though, I think, will have a longer and more profound impact on me. For some time now, I have had an unshakeable determination to see young people find their place in the Church. WYD for me was watching our young Pilgrims discover their place and take hold. They now know, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are called to be prophets, Pope Benedict told them and they were ready to hear! Make no mistake, the World Youth Day week is hard, but it is the kind of hard that melts and is forgotten. What remains is the joy that overflows; despite the tiredness, the aching feet and the sometimes pushy crowd or your disappointing view. Gabrielle Sinclair Youth Minister Bathurst
Sarah Coppola reflects on WYD Sydney I’m still learning to appreciate what a blessing it was to host World Youth Day on our own soil. Thinking back to it now, I remember the crowds, the vibrant youth running around eager to meet each other and give out ‘free hugs’. I remember the excitement around the Pope’s arrival, the singing and dancing in the streets of Sydney, and even in my own parish where hoards of pilgrims shared conversation, customs and plates of pasta served up by the Italian community. All these things I remember fondly – and yet, to me, this doesn’t begin to describe the experience or the impact of WYD08. I think the biggest thing that happened at WYD08, happened quietly within the hearts of those present. For me, this was the case. During that week I spent a lot of time listening and asking questions. In catechesis and in talks I attended during the week (most notably one on the Eucharist and one on JPII’s Theology of the Body) I heard many things I hadn’t heard before - or had the heart to receive. I was taking time to wander off alone and contemplate these things, and in that silence, those seeds that had been planted could start to take root within me. I thought I knew everything about my faith, and yet I was realising I hadn’t even scratched the surface. In this, everything started to make sense to me. In this, God for the first time became very real to me – more real than anything I thought I knew. For me, WYD08 was the catalyst that set me on a journey of striving to know and love God more each day, and coming to truly appreciate the wisdom and treasures of our Church. Life has never been the same. "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses…” Looking around me at the Church in Sydney today, it’s awe-inspiring to think how these words are coming to pass. WYD08 truly was a new Pentecost for our city. It inspired youth (who in turn inspire other youth) to be witnesses to the saving Word of God – to be on fire for their faith. We are now three years on, and I watch as one by one, young people turn back to God and take up the challenge of St Paul to “press on toward the goal” - to strive for holiness and live lives that are radically counter-cultural. This is the gift of WYD. May this truly inspired phenomenon continue on to breathe new life into many more cities around the world, that young people may come to know and love God, and to rise up together as members of the body of Christ. May we continually be empowered to be his witnesses. 7
At Home - Celebrating World Youth Day 2011 Some excellent ideas for parishes celebrating WYD at home – excerpts from the Office of Youth, Archdiocese of Melbourne: 1. Have a special Youth Mass in your Parish Include a special blessing for young people at the end of the Massand some food for after Mass. 2. Organise a special youth event/gathering/party Anything from a dinner together, speakers, playing games, having a prayer night, etc. 3. Organise a re-union for anyone involved in WYD 2008 Ask them to bring along their photos, videos, memories of events in Sydney. 4. Screen the live telecast from Madrid Gather around a large screen/TV and watch what is happening in Spain. 5. Organise a local Pilgrimage Organise a short (or long) pilgrim walk to places of local importance to your Parish. 6. Have a sleep out and Vigil. Gather for an evening of prayer, fun and music - model it on the WYD vigil.
The Spanish 'Tapas' Tradition ‘Salir con los amigos de tapas’ (to go out with one’s friends for tapas). Every Spaniard has his favourite tapas bar where people go regularly to meet their friends or business acquaintances. Tapas can be found in even the smallest bar in a tiny village. Spanish tapas can include cheese, fish, eggs, vegetable dishes, dips, canapés, and savoury pastries. A reasonable quantity of tapas can make an excellent meal. The word tapa, meaning cover or lid, is thought to have originally referred to the complimentary plate of appetizers that many bars would put on top of one's wine glass. One tradition is that tapas were the slices of bread which sherry drinkers in Andalusian taverns used to cover their glasses between sips as a practical measure to prevent fruit flies from hovering over the sweet sherry.
Parramatta Diocese limbers up for WYD Madrid (at left)
Nos vemos la próxima semana! (See you next week!) This Newsletter is available free for photocopying. It can also be found under the caption ‘WYD Madrid Prayer Newsletter’ on the CathNews website at www.cathnews.com Our thanks go to all who’ve contributed to the series, especially Lisa Bright, Sarah Coppola, Robyn Gallagher, Chris Nolan, Bernadette Toohey – Anthony Neylan, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org