ARCHDIOCESE OF CANBERRA-GOULBURN REPORT: After escaping the crowds of Madrid, the archdiocesan World Youth Day pilgrims spent two-days reflecting on their experiences. The following is an excerpt from Michelle Emmett (pictured). Full text, along with testimonies from other pilgrims, can be found atcgmadrid.org.au.
Right here, this is the real gift and purpose of WYD. It’s not to testify to the world or to the Pope or to learn more about our faith or meet people from all over the world with the same faith. These are all awesome by-products of WYD, but the real purpose is to celebrate the faith we have – it’s that simple...
The spark behind this epiphany was Friday’s catechesis... Archbishop Tim Dolan of New York... told this story about a man who was dying of aids. He was in a facility being taken care of by some nuns and on Good Friday he visited and celebrated Mass for the patients.
Following Mass the nuns took him around to the patients who couldn’t get up so they could kiss the feet of Jesus on the Cross. This particular man called out and Bishop Tim began moving towards him. The sisters stopped him and explained that he would spit, or swear, or urinate on, or bite him if he went in. The Bishop said, “Well I’m the priest and I have to go to him if it’s the feet of Christ he wants”, and so he did.
The man humbly venerated the Cross.
A few days later the nun rang him and asked him to return because the man was nearing death and asked to be baptised. The Bishop thought this was an odd request but went and before agreeing to perform the service asked the man why he wanted to be baptised.
The man replied, “I’ve been miserable for a long time and I was ok with that until I met these damn nuns. Believe me when I say I have done everything under the sun to them and still they come back and never stop smiling. They have something special and I want what they have. That’s Jesus and I want Him for all this life and the one after”.
Bishop Tim baptised him gladly and he died that afternoon.
Joy – it’s so fundamentally simple yet we hide it or are ashamed of it. How stupid! This Bishop, however, had it down pat! I want to spend every day of the rest of my life working on living openly the joy and peace I feel in my heart.