Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Thursday, May 20, 2021 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church

Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Lectionary: 300
Reading I
Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
Wishing to determine the truth
about why Paul was being accused by the Jews,
the commander freed him
and ordered the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin to convene.
Then he brought Paul down and made him stand before them.
Paul was aware that some were Sadducees and some Pharisees,
so he called out before the Sanhedrin,
“My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees;
I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead.”
When he said this,
a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees,
and the group became divided.
For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection
or angels or spirits,
while the Pharisees acknowledge all three.
A great uproar occurred,
and some scribes belonging to the Pharisee party
stood up and sharply argued,
“We find nothing wrong with this man.
Suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”
 The dispute was so serious that the commander,
afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them,
ordered his troops to go down and rescue Paul from their midst
and take him into the compound.
The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage.
For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem,
so you must also bear witness in Rome.”
Responsorial Psalm
16:1-2a and 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
R.    (1)  Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
R.    Alleluia.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
    I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
    you it is who hold fast my lot. 
R.    Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
R.    Alleluia.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
    even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
    with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R.    Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
R.    Alleluia.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
    my body, too, abides in confidence;
Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
    nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R.    Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
R.    Alleluia.
You will show me the path to life,
    fullness of joys in your presence,
    the delights at your right hand forever.
R.    Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
R.    Alleluia.
Jn 17:21
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May they all be one as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that the world may believe that you sent me, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jn 17:20-26
Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:
“I pray not only for these,
but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
so that they may all be one,
as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that they also may be in us,
that the world may believe that you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me,
so that they may be one, as we are one,
I in them and you in me,
that they may be brought to perfection as one,
that the world may know that you sent me,
and that you loved them even as you loved me.
Father, they are your gift to me.
I wish that where I am they also may be with me,
that they may see my glory that you gave me,
because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,
but I know you, and they know that you sent me.
I made known to them your name and I will make it known,
that the love with which you loved me
may be in them and I in them.”

Prayer to Make a Spiritual Communion-

People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion
At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I may come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen

Saint May 20 St. Bernardine of Siena a Franciscan and Great Preacher who is the Patron of Gamblers and Advertisers

St. Bernardine of Siena
Feast Day: May 20
Born: 1380, Massa Marittima, Italy
Died: 1444, Aquila, Italy
Canonized: 24 May 1450 by Pope Nicholas V
Patron of: advertisers; advertising; Aquila, Italy; chest problems; Italy; gambling addicts; public relations personnel; public relations work; respitory illnesses
Saint Bernardine, who propagated the devotion to the Most Holy Name of Jesus, give us a tender love for the Redeemer and obtain for us protection from respiratory illnesses, with which you yourself were tried. We ask this through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. -Pray an Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be
***St. Bernardine, a true disciple of St. Francis, and an admirable preacher of the word of God, inflamed with the most ardent love of our divine Redeemer, was made by God an instrument to kindle the same holy fire in innumerable souls, and to inspire them with his spirit of humility and meekness. He was born at Massa in 1380, of the noble family of Albizeschi, in the republic of Sienna. He lost his mother when he was but three years old, and his father, who was chief magistrate of Massa, before he was seven. The care of his education devolved on a virtuous aunt called Diana who infused into his tender soul ardent sentiments of piety towards God, and a tender devotion to his blessed Mother. This aunt always loved him as if he had been her own son; and indeed his towardly dispositions won him exceedingly the affections of all who ever had the care of him. He was modest, humble, and devout; and took great delight in prayer, visiting churches, serving at mass, and hearing sermons, which he would repeat again to his companions with an admirable memory and gracefulness of action. In that tender age he had a great compassion for the poor. One day it happened that his aunt sent away a poor person from the door without an alms, because there was but one loaf in the house for the dinner of the family. Bernardine was much troubled to see the beggar go away unrelieved, and said to his aunt, "For God's sake, let us give something to this poor man; otherwise I will neither dine nor sup this day. I had rather the poor should have a dinner than myself." This  wonderfully comforted his good aunt, who never ceased to incite him to all virtues, and, according to his strength, to accustom himself by degrees to fasting. Young as he was, he fasted every Saturday in honor of the blessed Virgin; which pious custom he always continued. At eleven years of age he was called to Sienna by his uncles, and put to school under the ablest masters, who all admired the quickness of his parts, and the solidity of his judgment; but much more, his docility, modesty, and virtue. If he chanced to hear any word the least unbecoming, he, by blushing, testified what confusion it gave him, and how much it wounded his very heart; and though he was otherwise most condescending, civil, and respectful to all, he could never bear with patience any indecent discourse. For a single word of that kind he so severely reprimanded a man of quality, that it was to him a warning during the remainder of his life to govern his tongue; and many years alter, hearing Bernardine preach, he was so moved that he seemed to be drowned in tears. The modesty of the virtuous youth was a check to the most impudent, and kept them in awe in his presence: in whatever company, if the conversation was too free, it was dropped when he appeared, and the very loosest rakes would say, "Hush! here comes Bernardine:" as the presence of Cato among the Romans restrained the lewd libertinism of a festival.1 Nor did the saint behave on these occasions in such a manner as might render virtue the subject of ridicule, but with a surprising dignity. Nevertheless, an impure monster had once the insolence to make an attempt upon his virginal purity, and to solicit him to sin. But the saint, not content to testify his scorn and indignation, excited the whole troop of his little innocent playfellows against the lewd villain, who pelted him with clods and stones, and made him ashamed any more to show his face. Bernardine was exceeding comely and beautiful; but his known virtue secured him from any further assaults; and he never ceased to beg of God the grace of purity, particularly through the intercession of the blessed  Virgin Mary. When he had completed the course of his philosophy, he applied himself to the study of civil and canon law, and afterwards of that of the holy scriptures, with such ardor that he could never from that time relish any other study.
PRAYER O God, who gave the Priest Saint Bernardine of Siena a great love for the holy Name of Jesus, grant through his merits and prayers, that we may ever be set aflame with the spirit of your love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Saint Bernardine, please help those struggling with the addiction to Gambling. We ask this in the name of Jesus. AMEN St. Bernardine of Siena, Pray for Us!

At seventeen years of age he enrolled himself in the confraternity of Our Lady in the hospital of Scala, to serve the sick. Here he began with new vigor to tame his flesh by severe fasts, watchings, hair-shirts, disciplines, and other austerities; but he applied himself more to the interior mortification of his will, which rendered him always most mild, sweet, patient, and affable to every one. He had served this hospital four years, when, in 1400, a dreadful pestilence which had already made great havoc in several other parts of Italy, and was increased by the concourse of pilgrims to the jubilee, reached Sienna; insomuch that twelve, eighteen, or twenty persons died every day in this hospital; and among others were carried off almost all the priests, apothecaries, and servants, that belonged to the place. Bernardine therefore  persuaded twelve young men to bear him company in the service of the hospital, expecting heaven for their speedy recompense; and they all strove which should come up the nearest to Bernardine in cheerfulness, humility, and assiduity in performing the most sacred offices, and in exerting themselves in the service of the sick. The saint was intrusted in a manner with the whole care of the hospital, which, in the space of four months, he put into excellent order. It is hardly credible how many lives he saved, or with what charity and pains he night and day attended the patients, and furnished them with every comfort and succor which it was in his power to afford them. God preserved him from the contagion during these four months, at the end of which the pestilence ceased. He then returned home, but sick of a fever which he had contracted by his fatigues, which obliged him to keep his bed four months; during which time he edified the city, no less by his resignation and patience, than he had done by his charity. He was scarce well recovered when he returned to the like works of charity, and with incredible patience attended a dying aunt for fourteen months, named Bartholomaea, a woman of great piety, who was blind and bedridden. When God had called her to himself, Bernardine retired to a house at some distance from the city, making the walls of his garden the bounds of his enclosure. Here, in solitude, fasting, and prayer, he endeavored to learn the will of God in the choice of a state of life. After some time he took the habit of the order of St. Francis, among the fathers of the Strict Observance at Colombiere, a solitary convent a few miles from Sienna; and after the year of his novitiate, made his profession on the 8th of September, 1404. Having been born on the feast of the Nativity of the blessed Virgin, out of devotion to her, he chose the same day for the principal actions of his life: on it he took the religious habit, made his vows, said his first mass, and preached his first sermon. His fervor increased daily; and while some sought interpretations to mollify the severity of the rule, he was always studying to add to it greater austerities and heroic practices of virtue, the more perfectly to crucify in himself the old man. He was pleased with insults and humiliations, and whatever could be agreeable to the most ardent spirit of humility and self-denial. When he went through the streets in a threadbare short habit, the boys sometimes cast stones at him, with injurious language; in which contempt the saint found a singular joy and satisfaction. He showed the same sentiments when a near kinsman with bitter invectives reproached him, as disgracing his friends by the mean and contemptible manner of life he bad embraced. These and all other virtues he learned in the living book of Christ crucified, which he studied night and day, often prostrate before a crucifix, from which he seemed one day to hear our Lord speak thus to him: "My son, behold me hanging upon a cross: if thou lovest me, or art desirous to imitate me, be thou also fastened naked to thy cross, and follow me; thus thou wilt assuredly find me." In the same school he learned an insatiable zeal for the salvation of souls, redeemed by the blood of Christ. Having in retirement prepared himself for the office of preaching, his superiors ordered him to employ his talent that way for the benefit of others. He labored under a natural impediment from weakness and hoarseness of voice; the removal of which obstacle he obtained by addressing himself to his glorious patroness, the mother of God. For fourteen years his labors were confined to his own country; but when the reputation of his virtue was spread abroad, he shone as a bright light to the whole church.

In vain cloth the minister of God confide in the weak resources of mere human eloquence and pomp of words, by which he rather debases the dignity and majesty of the sacred oracles: while he pleases the ear and gains the applause of his audience, he leaves their hearts dry. The great apostle of Andalusia, the venerable holy John D'Avila, being desired to lay down some rules for the art of preaching, answered, he knew no other art than the most ardent love of God and zeal for his honor. He used to say to young clergymen, that one word spoken by a man of prayer would do more good, and have a more powerful influence, than all the most eloquent discourses; for it is only the language of the heart that speaks to the heart; and a life of mortification and prayer not only draws down the dew of the divine benediction upon the labors of the preacher, but it replenishes his soul with a sincere spirit of humility, compunction, and all virtues, and with an experimental knowledge and feeling sense of the great truths which he delivers. Zealous ministers who are filled with the Spirit of God, are a great blessing to the people among whom they labor; and this reflection unfolds the secret how saints possess so extraordinary a grace of converting souls to God. This was the excellent talent of Bernardine. They who heard him preach felt their souls to melt in sentiments of compunction, divine love, humility, and the contempt of the world, and returned home new men, striking their breasts, and bathed in tears. The word, of God was in his mouth as a fire, and as a hammer breaking the hardest rocks. Another eminent preacher of his order being asked the reason why his sermons did not produce equal fruit with those of Bernardine, answered, "Brother Bernardine is a fiery glowing coal. What is only warm hath not the power of kindling a fire in others like the burning coal." The saint himself being consulted what was the way to preach with profit, gave this rule: "In all your actions seek in the first place the kingdom of God and his glory; direct all you do purely to his honor; persevere in brotherly charity, and practice first all that you desire to teach others. By this means the Holy Ghost will be your master, and will give you such wisdom and such a tongue that no adversary will be able to stand against you." This he faithfully practiced, and from his assiduous communication with God he imbibed that eminent spirit of virtue which gave him the most powerful ascendant over the hearts of men. Among the great truths of religion, he principally labored to inculcate a sincere contempt of the vanity of the world, and an ardent love of our blessed Redeemer. He wished he could cry out with a trumpet which could be heard over the whole earth, that he might sound aloud in the ears of all men that great oracle of the Holy Ghost: O ye sons of men, how long will you be dull of heart? Why do you love vanity, and seek after lying? O children, how long will you love childishness?3 And he never ceased with the thunder of his voice to raise men from grovelling always on this earth, to the important consideration of the things which belong to their eternal welfare, and to the love of Jesus Christ. So much was he affected with the mysteries of the incarnation and sufferings of the Son of God, that he could never pronounce his sacred name without appearing in transports of love and adoration. Often at the end of his sermon he showed to the people the sacred name of Jesus curiously cut on a board with gold letters, inviting them to adore Christ with him on their knees, reciting a pious doxology. This was misconstrued by some, who also cavilled at certain expressions which he had used. Upon their complaints, pope Martin V. summoned him to appear, and commanded him silence for a while. The humble saint meekly acquiesced without making any reply. But his holiness, after a full examination of his doctrine and conduct, dismissed him with his benediction, high commendations, and ample leave to preach everywhere. The same pope pressed him to accept the bishopric of Sienna in 1427; but he declined that dignity, alleging for his excuse, that if he were confined to one church, he could no longer employ himself in the service of so many souls. In 1431 he no less resolutely refused that of Ferrara, which Eugenius III. earnestly desired to confer upon him, and again that of Urbino, in 1435. When the saint preached first at Milan, the haughty duke Philip Mary Visconti took offence at certain things which he had said in his sermons, and threatened him with death if he should presume to speak any more on such subjects; but the saint declared, that no greater happiness could befall him than to die for the truth. The duke, to try him, sent him a present of one hundred ducats of gold in a golden bowl. The saint excused himself from receiving the money to two different messengers; but being compelled by a third to accept it, he took the messenger with him to the prisons, and laid it all out in his presence in releasing debtors. This disinterestedness turned the duke's aversion into the greatest veneration for the saint ever after.

St. Bernardine preached several times through the greatest part of Italy; some say also in Spain; but this seems uncertain. Nothing was more spoken of over all Italy than the wonderful fruit of his sermons, miraculous conversions, restitution of ill-gotten goods, reparations of injuries, and heroic examples of virtue. The factions of the Guelfs and Ghibellins then horribly divided many cities of Italy, and gave frequent employment to the saint. Hearing once of a great dissension at Perugia, he hastened thither from the marquisate of Ancona, and entering the city, thus addressed the inhabitants, "God, who is highly offended at this division among you, hath sent me, as his angel, to proclaim peace to men of good will upon earth." After preaching four sermons to persuade them to a mutual forgiveness of all injuries, and a general amnesty, at the end of the last he bade all those who forgave each other and desired to live in peace, to pass to the right hand. All present did so except one young nobleman, who stayed on the left, muttering some thing between his teeth. The saint, after a severe reproach, foretold him his sudden death, which happened soon after, and without the benefit of the sacraments. In 1433 he accompanied the emperor Sigismund to his coronation at Rome; after which he retired for a short time to Sienna, where he put the finishing hand to his works.

Amidst the greatest applause and honors, the most sincere humility always appeared in his words and actions; and he ever studied to conceal the talents with which God had enriched him. How great his esteem of humility was, he testified when a brother of his order asked him the means by which he might speedily arrive at perfection. The saint, instead of giving him any answer by words, threw himself at his feet; showing at the same time his own great affection to humility, and also that this virtue raises the soul to divine love and every grace. God, however, was pleased to honor his servant before men. Besides several predictions and miraculous cures of many lepers and other sick persons, the saint is recorded to have raised four dead to life. He was appointed vicar-general of his order of the Strict Observance in Italy, in 1438, in which he settled a rigorous reformation; but, after five years, obtained a discharge from his office; and in his old age continued the function of preaching through Romania, Ferrara, and Lombardy. He returned to Sienna in 1444, preached a most pathetic farewell sermon at Massa on concord and unity, and being taken ill of a malignant fever on the road, still preached as usual till he arrived at Aquila in Abruzzo. There, being confined to his bed, he prepared himself for his passage out of this life by the rites of the church. When he was speechless, he made a sign to be taken off his bed and laid upon the floor; where, lifting up his eyes to heaven, he surrendered his pure soul into the hands of his Creator on the 20th of May, 1444, after a life of sixty-three years, eight months, and thirteen days. His tomb was rendered illustrious by many miracles, and he was canonized by Nicholas V. in 1450. His body is kept in a crystal shrine, enclosed in one of silver, in the church of his order at Aquila.
Source Lives of the Saints by Alban Butler

Saint May 19 St. Crispin of Viterbo a Franciscan Lay Brother who Died 1750 and Remains Incorrupt


13 November 1668, Viterbo
19 May 1750, Rome
20 June 1982 by Pope John Paul II
Friar Minor Capuchin; b. at Viterbo in 1668; d. at Rome, 19 May, 1750. When he was five years old, his pious mother took him to a sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin, a short distance from Viterbo, where she consecrated him to the Mother of God and placed him under her special protection. The child grew beyond his years in virtue and science of the saints; so that the townsfold of Viterbo were wont to call him il Santarello, the little saint. As Crispin one day saw the Capuchin novices walking in procession, God inspired him with the desire to embrace the religious life. He was shortly afterwards received into the Franciscan Order as a simple lay brother. Having been employed for some time as cook in the convent at Viterbo, he was sent to Tolfa, a town not far distant from Civita Becchia, to fulfil the same office. Thence he was sent to Rome and finally to Albano. Here Crispin was visited by the men of the world, by bishops and cardinals, and even by the pope himself, who always took delight in conversing with the humble lay brother. It was Crispin's constant endeavour to imitate the virtues of his patron, St. Felix of Cantalice, whom he had chosen as his model of perfection at the beginning of his religious life. Like St. Felix, he used to call himself the ass or beat of burden of the Capuchins, and, having on one occasion been asked by a stranger why he went bare-headed, Crispin answered jocosely, that "an ass does not wear a hat." Enfeebled by old age and by his numerous austerities, he was sent to Rome by his superiors, there to end his holy life. His body, which even at the present time is still in a remarkable state of preservation, rests under one of the side altars in the church of the Capuchin Fathers in Rome. Blessed Crispin was solemnly beatified by Pope Pius VII in 1806.
(Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Pope Francis Recommends "Vigilance" in Prayer and Repeats the Word of Jesus “Keep vigil. Pray” FULL TEXT + Video at Catechesis on Prayer


San Damaso courtyard  - Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Catechesis on prayer: 34. Distractions, time of barrenness, sloth

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Continuing in the line of the Catechism, in this catechesis we refer to the lived experience of prayer, trying to show some very common difficulties, which must be identified and overcome. Praying is not easy: many difficulties present themselves in prayer. It is necessary to know them, recognise them and overcome them.

The first problem that emerges to those who pray is distraction (see CCC, 2729). You start to pray and then your mind wanders, it wanders all over the place; your heart is here, your mind is there… distraction from prayer. Prayer often co-exists with distraction. Indeed, the human mind finds it hard to dwell for long on a single thought. We all experience this constant whirlwind of images and illusions in perpetual motion, which accompanies us even during sleep. And we all know that it is not good to follow this inclination to disorder.

The battle to achieve and maintain concentration does not relate only to prayer. If one does not attain a sufficient level of concentration one cannot study profitably, nor can one work well. Athletes are aware that contests are not won solely through physical training, but also with mental discipline: above all, with the capacity to concentrate and to remain focused.

Distractions are not guilty, but they must be fought. In the heritage of our faith there is a virtue that is often forgotten, but which is so present in the Gospel. It is called “vigilance”. And Jesus said, “Keep vigil. Pray”. The Catechism mentions it explicitly in its instruction on prayer (cf. no. 2730). Jesus often calls the disciples to the duty of a sober life, guided by the thought that sooner or later He will return, like a bridegroom from a wedding or a master from a journey. But since we do not know the day and hour of His return, all the minutes of our lives are precious and should not be wasted on distractions. In a moment that we do not know, the voice of our Lord will resound: on that day, blessed will be those servants whom He will find industrious, still focused on what really matters. They did not stray in pursuit of every attraction that came before their minds, but tried to walk the right path, doing good and performing their own task. This is distraction: the imagination wanders, it wanders and wanders… Saint Teresa used to call this imagination that wanders in prayer “the madwoman in the house”; it is like a madwoman that leads you here and there … We must stop it and cage it, with attention.

The time of barrenness warrants a different discourse. The Catechism describes it in this way: “The heart is separated from God, when there is dryness, with no taste for thoughts, memories and feelings, even spiritual ones. This is the moment of sheer faith clinging faithfully to Jesus in his agony and in his tomb” (no. 2731). Barrenness makes us think of Good Friday, at night, and Holy Saturday, all the day: Jesus is not there, He is in the tomb; Jesus is dead, we are alone. And this is the thought that gives rise to barrenness. Often we do not know what the reasons for barrenness are: it may depend on ourselves, but also on God, who permits certain situations in the outer or inner life. Or, at times, it can be a headache or a problem of the liver that stops us from entering into prayer. Often we do not really know the reason. Spiritual teachers describe the experience of faith as a continuous alternation of times of consolation and desolation; there are times when everything is easy, while others are marked by great heaviness. Very often, when we encounter a friend, we say, “How are you?” – “Today I am down”. Very often we are “down”, or rather, we don’t have feelings, we don’t have consolation, we are unable. They are those grey days … and there are so many of them in life! But the danger is having a grey heart: when this “feeling down” reaches the heart and it sickens… and there are people who live with a grey heart. This is terrible: one cannot pray, one cannot feel consolation with a grey heart! Or, one cannot emerge from spiritual barrenness with a grey heart. The heart must be open and luminous, so that the light of the Lord can enter. And if it does not enter, wait for it, with hope. But do not close it up in greyness.

Then, a different thing is sloth, another flaw, another vice, which is a real temptation against prayer and, more generally, against the Christian life, is a different matter. Sloth is “a form of depression due to lax ascetically practice, decreasing vigilance, carelessness of heart” , 2733). It is one of the seven “deadly sins” because, fuelled by conceit, it can lead to the death of the soul.

So what can we do in this succession of enthusiasms and discouragements? One must learn to go forward always. True progress in the spiritual life does not consist in multiplying ecstasies, but in being able to persevere in difficult times: walk, walk, walk on… and if you are tired, stop a little and then start walking again. But with perseverance. Let us remember Saint Francis’ parable on perfect joy: it is not in the infinite fortunes rained down from Heaven that the ability of a friar is measured, but in walking steadily, even when one is not recognised, even when one is mistreated, even when everything has lost its initial flavour. All the saints have passed through this “dark valley”, and let us not be scandalised if, reading their diaries, we find accounts of evenings of listless prayer, lived without enthusiasm. We must learn to say: “Even though You, my God, seem to be doing everything to make me stop believing in You, I still continue to pray to You”. Believers never stop praying! It may sometimes resemble the prayer of Job, who does not accept that God treats him unjustly, protests and calls him to judgment. But, very often, even protesting before God is a way of praying or, as that little old lady said, “being angry with God is a way to pray too”, because many times a son is angry with his father: it is a way of relating to the father; since he recognises him as “father”, he gets angry…

And we too, who are far less holy and patient than Job, know that in the end, at the end of this time of desolation, during which we have raised to Heaven silent cries and asked “why?” many times, God will answer us. Do not forget the prayer that asks “why?”. It is the prayer of children when they begin not to understand things, which psychologists call “the why stage”, because the child asks his father, “Daddy, why? Daddy, why? Daddy, why?” But be careful: he does not listen to his father’s answer. The father starts to reply, but he interrupts with another “Why?”. He simply wants to draw his father’s attention to him; and when we get a bit angry with God and start asking why, we are attracting the heart of our Father towards our misery, towards our difficulties, towards our life. But yes, have the courage to say to God: “But why?”. Because at times, getting a bit angry is good for you, because it reawakens that son-father, daughter-father relationship we must have with God. And He will accept even our harshest and bitterest expressions with a father’s love, and will consider them as an act of faith, as a prayer. Thank you.

Special Greetings

I cordially greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors. As we prepare to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, I invoke upon you and your families the gifts of the Holy Spirit. May God bless you!

FULL TEXT + Image Screenshot from - Official Translation

Prayers Answered as Catholic Priest is Released by Army in Myanmar - Fr. Colombano Labang Lar Di Returns Unharmed

 Fides reports that a Catholic priest arrested by the military has been released.

The priest of the diocese of Banmaw, 38-year-old Fr. Colombano Labang Lar Di, was released after 4 days of detention, arrested by a Burmese army patrol on May 14 while on his way to the city of Myitkyina. A military patrol had stopped him and brought him to the army headquarters to question him. As confirmed to Fides by Father Luke Lahpai Hka Li, Director of the Commission for Education in the diocese of Banmaw, the release took place after the Bishop of Banmaw, Raymond Sumlut Gam, sent a letter to the military asking for explanations for the arrest and specifying that the priest's trip was due to pastoral needs.

According to the Bishop, the priest was treated well during his four days of detention. He was asked about the documents and photos found on his mobile phone, where there were documents on Bible courses in the Kachin language and photos of internally displaced people that the Church in Kachin State has been assisting continuously for ten years. In particular, some photographs that also portrayed members of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) were found. Fr. Colombano explained that he had provided pastoral service in Laiza, KIA headquarters, and that for this reason he had also taken some photos of KIA soldiers.

Among the suspicions and accusations of the military against the priest, is that of supporting the rebels of the Kachin army and that of supporting the Civil Disobedience Movement that is challenging, with peaceful actions, the military junta that took power with a coup on February 1.

The priest's arrest came as fighting intensified between the army and KIA in various areas of the Kachin State, which has seen the displacement of more than 5,000 new refugees since March. The local Church is providing humanitarian aid to the displaced who have taken refuge in churches and monasteries. In the parish of Prang Hkung Dung, in the diocese of Banmaw, where Fr. Colombano Lar Di works, there is a camp for displaced people that houses more than 3,000 people. The Catholic Church in the Kachin State, in the north-east of Myanmar, on the border with China, has been committed for more than ten years to the reception and humanitarian and social assistance to displaced civilians, especially through the local Caritas, called "Karuna".

Also last Sunday, May 16, the Bishop celebrated mass in the church of Saint Michael in the parish of Nan Hlaing, where 64 families have taken refuge, due to the recent fighting between rebels and the regular army. According to data from the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), about 100,000 displaced people continue to live in 139 makeshift camps built in the Kachin State; among these, some 60,000 are in government-organized camps, while 40,000 refugees are in territories administered by the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO). Kachin State has a population of 1.7 million people, mostly Christians, including 125,000 Catholics. (PA) (FULL TEXT Release: Agenzia Fides, 18/5/2021)

Vatican Releases New Guidelines for World Youth Day and Encourages Participation of Local Diocese Around the Globe - FULL TEXT



Pastoral Guidelines for the Celebration of

World Youth Day in the Particular Churches

1. World Youth Day

The institution of World Youth Day was certainly the result of great prophetic insight on the part of St John Paul II. He explained the reasons for his decision as follows: “All young people must feel that they are cared for by the Church. Therefore, may the entire Church on a worldwide level, in union with the Successor of Peter, be more and more committed to young people, to their concerns and worries and to their aspirations and hopes, so as to meet their expectations by communicating the certainty that is Christ, the Truth that is Christ, the love that is Christ...”.[1]

Pope Benedict XVI took up the baton from his predecessor. On various occasions he stressed that these events are a providential gift for the Church. He described them as “a remedy against faith fatigue”, “a new, more youthful form of Christianity” and “new evangelisation put into practice”. [2]

In Pope Francis’ view too, World Youth Day provides an extraordinarily powerful missionary thrust for the whole Church and, in particular, for the younger generations. Just a few months after his election, Pope Francis inaugurated his pontificate with WYD in Rio de Janeiro in July 2013, at the end of which he said that WYD “was a new stage on the pilgrimage of youth crossing the continents bearing the Cross of Christ”. He went on to say that “we must never forget that World Youth Days are not ‘firework displays’, flashes of enthusiasm that are an end in themselves; they are the stages of a long journey, begun in 1985, at the initiative of Pope John Paul II”. [3] He clarified a central point: “Let us always remember: young people do not follow the Pope, they follow Jesus Christ, bearing his Cross. And the Pope guides them and accompanies them on this journey of faith and hope”.[4]

As we all know, international celebrations of the event are generally held every three years in a different country each time with the participation of the Holy Father. The ordinary celebration of WYD, on the other hand, takes place every year in the particular Churches that undertake the organisation of the event.

2. WYD in the particular Churches

World Youth Day celebrated in each particular Church has great significance and value, not only for the young people who live in that particular region, but for the entire local ecclesial community.

Some young people cannot take part in the international WYDs because of their studies, work or financial difficulties. It would therefore be good for each particular Church to offer them the possibility, even if at a local level, of a personal experience of a “festival of faith” that can be a powerful occasion for witnessing, communion and prayer similar to the international events. Those global WYDs have profoundly touched the lives of very many young people in every part of the world.

Moreover, when World Youth Day is celebrated at the local level, it has immensely important significance for particular Churches. It serves to raise awareness among the ecclesial community as a whole − laity, priests, consecrated persons, families, adults and the elderly – of their mission to transmit the faith to the younger generations. The General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme of “Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment” (2018) reminded us that the whole Church, including the universal and the particular and each of its members, must feel responsible for young people and be willing to allow ourselves be challenged by their questions, their desires and their difficulties. The celebration of these Youth Days at a local level is therefore extremely useful in keeping the Church mindful of the importance of walking with young people, and of welcoming them and listening to them with patience while proclaiming the Word of God to them with affection and power.[5]

Specifically on the subject of holding WYD at a local level, this Dicastery, within the framework of its competencies,[6] has drawn up some pastoral guidelines for the Bishops’ Conferences, the Synods of the Patriarchal Churches and Major Archbishoprics, the dioceses/eparchies, the ecclesial movements and associations and, last but not least, for young people all over the world, so that the “diocesan/eparchial WYD” may be fully experienced as a moment of celebration “for young people” and “with young people”.

These Pastoral Guidelines are intended to encourage the particular Churches to give increasingly more importance to the diocesan celebration of WYD. They are to look on it as a favourable opportunity to be creative in planning and implementing initiatives that show that the Church considers its mission with young people to be “a pastoral priority of epoch-making significance in which to invest time, energy and resources”. [7] We need to ensure that the younger generations feel that they are at the centre of the Church’s attention and pastoral concern. Indeed, young people want to be involved and appreciated, and to feel that they are co-protagonists in the life and mission of the Church.[8]

The guidelines that follow were drawn up mainly with individual dioceses in mind because dioceses are the framework and expression of the local Church. However, these recommendations must obviously be adapted to the different situations in which the Church finds itself in various regions of the world. Examples include cases where the dioceses/eparchies are small and have few human and material resources at their disposal. In these specific cases, or where it is seen to be pastorally expedient, it is possible for neighbouring or overlapping jurisdictions to join forces to celebrate Youth Day. It could be a group of several jurisdictions or an ecclesiastical region, or it could be at the national level.

3. The celebration of WYD at the local level on the Solemnity of Christ the King

At the end of Mass on the Solemnity of Christ the King on 22 November 2020, Pope Francis called for a relaunch of the celebration of WYD in the particular Churches. He announced that this celebration which has been traditionally held on Palm Sunday, starting in 2021 will be held on the Sunday of the Solemnity of Christ the King.[9]

In this regard, we recall that on the Solemnity of Christ the King in 1984, St John Paul II summoned young people to a gathering on the occasion of the International Year of Youth (1985). That occasion, together with the convocation of the Jubilee of Young People in the Year of the Redemption (1984), marked the beginning of the long journey of WYD. Pope John Paul II said, “On this feast day [...] the Church proclaims the Kingdom of Christ, already present, but still growing in all its mystery towards its full manifestation. You, young people, are indispensable bearers of the dynamics of the Kingdom of God, the hope of the Church and the world”. This, then, was the genesis of WYD: on the day of Christ the King, young people from all over the world were invited “to come to Rome for a meeting with the Pope at the beginning of Holy Week, on Saturday and Palm Sunday”.[10]

Indeed, it is not difficult to see the link between Palm Sunday and Christ the King. In the Palm Sunday celebration, the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem is commemorated as that of a “king, gentle and riding on a donkey” (Mt 21:5) and acclaimed as Messiah by the crowd: “Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mt 21:9). The evangelist Luke explicitly adds the title “King” to the crowd’s acclamation of “the one who comes”, thus emphasising that the Messiah is also King, and that his entry into Jerusalem is in a certain sense a royal enthronement: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord” (Lk 19:38).

The kingly dimension of Christ is so important to Luke that it appears from the beginning to the end of Jesus Christ’s earthly life and accompanies his entire ministry. At the Annunciation, the angel prophesies to Mary that the child she has conceived will receive from God “the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end” (Lk 1:32-33). At the dramatic moment of the crucifixion, while the other evangelists merely mention the insults of the two crucified men on either side of Jesus, Luke presents the moving figure of the ‘good thief’ who prays to Jesus from the scaffold of the cross, saying, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk 23:42). The words of welcome and forgiveness that Jesus pronounced in response to this prayer make it clear that he is a King come to save: “today you will be with me in paradise” (Lk 23:43).

The key proclamation that must be addressed to young people and that must be at the centre of every diocesan/eparchial WYD celebrated on the day of Christ the King is therefore: receive Christ! Welcome him as King into your lives! He is a King who came to save! Without him there is no true peace, no true inner reconciliation and no true reconciliation with others! Without his Kingdom, society too loses its human face. Without the Kingdom of Christ, all true fraternity and all genuine proximity to those who suffer will disappear.

Pope Francis noted that at the heart of the two liturgical celebrations, Christ the King and Palm Sunday, lies “the Mystery of Jesus Christ the Redeemer of humankind…”.[11] The core message is always that the full stature of humankind stems from love that gives itself to others “right to the end”.

This is therefore an invitation addressed to dioceses/eparchies to celebrate WYD on the Solemnity of Christ the King. It is a desire of the Holy Father that this should be a day for the universal Church to place young people at the centre of our pastoral attention, to pray for them, to engage young people as protagonists, to promote communications campaigns, etc. Ideally, an event (diocesan/eparchial, regional or national) should be organised on the day we celebrate Christ the King. There may be, however, reasons for the event to be held on another date.

This celebration should be part of a broader pastoral journey of which WYD is only one stage.[12] It is no coincidence that the Holy Father recommends that “Youth ministry has to be synodal; it should involve journeying together”.[13]

4. The cornerstones of WYD

During the Synod of Bishops on the topic of “Young people, faith and vocational discernment”, several contributions made by the Synod members concerned World Youth Day. In this regard, the Final Document states that “World Youth Day – the fruit of a prophetic insight of Saint John Paul II, who continues to inspire young people in the third millennium – and national and diocesan[/eparchial] meetings, play an important part in the lives of many young people, since they offer a living experience of faith and communion that can help them meet life’s great challenges and responsibly take their place in society and in the Church”.[14]

While stressing that these gatherings point to “the ordinary pastoral accompaniment provided by individual communities, where the Gospel has to be shared and translated into life decisions”,[15] the Document affirms that “they offer the possibility of journeying together as if on pilgrimage, of experiencing fraternity with all, of sharing the faith joyfully and growing closer to the Church”.[16]

Let us explore some of these “cornerstones” [17] that must be at the heart of every WYD, even at the local scale, and that therefore have clear programmatic value.

a. Youth Day as a “festival of faith

WYD offers young people a lively and joyful experience of faith and communion, a space to experience the beauty of the face of God.[18] At the heart of a life of faith is our encounter with the person of Jesus Christ, so it is good that every WYD should resound with the invitation for each young person to meet Christ and enter into a personal dialogue with him. “Then there is the greater celebration which is the feast of faith, when together we praise the Lord, sing, listen to the word of God, remain in the silence of worship: all of this is the culmination of WYD”.[19]

In this sense, the programme of international WYD (the kerygmatic, formative, witnessing, sacramental, artistic dimensions, etc.) can inspire at the local level where it can be adapted creatively. Particular attention should be paid to moments of silent adoration of the Eucharist as an act of faith par excellence, and to penitential liturgies as a special place of encounter with God’s mercy.

Furthermore, it should be borne in mind how in every WYD the natural enthusiasm of young people, the eagerness with which they embrace anything that makes them feel involved and with which they live out their faith, all of this stimulates and reinvigorates the faith of the whole people of God. When young people are called by the Gospel and invited to an experience with the Lord, they often become courageous witnesses to the faith. This always results in the WYD event becoming something surprising and unique.

b. Youth Day as an “experience of Church”

It is important that the diocesan/eparchial celebration of WYD be an occasion for young people to experience ecclesial communion and to grow in their awareness of being an integral part of the Church. The first way to involve young people is to listen to them. In preparing for the diocesan/eparchial Youth Day, we need to find appropriate times and ways for the voices of young people to be heard within the existing structures of communion: diocesan/eparchial and inter-diocesan/eparchial councils, presbyteral councils, local councils of bishops, etc. Let us not forget that they are the youthful face of the Church!

Alongside the young people, there should be room for the various charisms present in the jurisdiction. It is essential that the organisation of the diocesan/parish celebration of WYD be choral and involve the various states of life in a project calling for synodal work, as the Holy Father asked for in Christus Vivit: “Motivated by this spirit, we can move towards a participatory and co-responsible Church, one capable of appreciating its own rich variety, gratefully accepting the contributions of the lay faithful, including young people and women, consecrated persons, as well as groups, associations and movements. No one should be excluded or exclude themselves”.[20] In this way, it will be possible to gather and coordinate all the dynamic forces of the particular Church, as well as to reawaken those that are dormant.

In this context, the presence of the local Bishop and his willingness to be among the young people show them a clear sign of love and closeness. It is often the case for many young people that the diocesan/eparchial celebration of WYD is an opportunity to meet and converse with their bishop. Pope Francis encourages this pastoral style of proximity, where “we need to use above all the language of closeness, the language of generous, relational and existential love that touches the heart, impacts life, and awakens hope and desires”.[21]

c. Youth Day as a “missionary experience”

WYD at the international level has proved to be an excellent opportunity for young people to have a missionary experience. This must also be the case for diocesan/eparchial Youth Days. As Pope Francis says, “youth ministry is always missionary”.[22]

For this purpose, missions can be organised in which young people are encouraged to visit people in their homes carrying a message of hope, a word of comfort or simply being willing to listen.[23] Wherever it is possible, the enthusiasm of young people can be harnessed to allow them to lead occasions of public evangelisation with songs, prayer and testimonies. They can go to streets and squares in the city where their peers meet, because young people are the best evangelisers of young people. Their very presence and their joyful faith already constitute a “living proclamation” of the Good News that attracts other young people.

Activities in which young people have an experience of voluntary work, freely given service and self-giving are also to be encouraged. It should not be forgotten that on the Sunday before the Solemnity of Christ the King, the Church celebrates World Day of the Poor. What better occasion to promote initiatives in which young people donate their time and energy for the benefit of the most disadvantaged, the marginalised and those who are discarded by society. In this way, young people are offered the chance to become “protagonists of the revolution of charity and service, capable of resisting the pathologies of consumerism and superficial individualism”.[24]

d. Youth Day as an “opportunity for vocational discernment” and a “call to holiness”.

As part of a rich ecclesial and missionary experience of faith, priority should be given to the vocational dimension. It is a gradual approach that first of all helps young people understand that their whole life is placed before God who loves them and calls them. God has called them first and foremost to life and continually calls them to happiness. They are called to get to know God and to listen to his voice, and above all to accept his Son Jesus as their teacher, friend and Saviour. To recognise and come to terms with these “fundamental vocations” is the first great challenge for young people. When these first “calls” from God are taken seriously, they already point towards demanding life choices. These include accepting that our existence is a gift from God that must therefore be lived in reference to God and not in a self-referential way; the choice of a Christian way of living in our affections and social relationships; the choice of studies, of work commitment and of our entire future in such a way that it is fully in tune with the friendship with God that we have embraced and want to preserve; the choice of making our entire existence a gift for others to be lived in service and selfless love. These are often radical choices in response to God’s call that give a decisive direction to a young person’s whole life. Pope Francis tells them that “life […] is a time for making robust, decisive, eternal choices. Trivial choices lead to a trivial life; great choices to a life of greatness”.[25]

Within this broader “vocational horizon”, there is no reason to be afraid of proposing to young people the choice that must be made of a state of life, one that is in accord with the call that God is addressing to each of them individually, whether it be to the priesthood or the consecrated life, including in the monastic form, or marriage and family. In this sense, the involvement of seminarians, consecrated persons, married couples and families can be of great help. By their presence and witness, they can help to prompt young people to ask the right vocational questions and to desire to set out in search of the “great plan” that God has in mind for them. In the delicate process that guides them to make these choices, young people must be accompanied and prudently advised. When the time is right, they should be encouraged to make their own personal option in a decisive way with trust in God’s help. They should not be stuck in a perpetual state of indecision.

Every vocational choice must have at its heart the even more profound call to holiness. WYD must resonate in young people the call to holiness as the true path to happiness and self-fulfilment.[26] It is holiness that is commensurate with the history and personality of each young person. It does not set limits to the mysterious ways that God has in store for each one that can lead to heroic stories of holiness − as has happened and still happens with many young people − or to the “holiness next door” from which no one is excluded. It is therefore appropriate to make the most of the rich patrimony of saints of the local and universal Church, elder brothers and sisters in the faith, whose stories confirm to us that the path to holiness is not only possible and practicable, but that it brings great joy.

e. Youth Day as an “experience of pilgrimage”

WYD has been a great pilgrimage right from the beginning. It has been a pilgrimage through space and time. Pilgrims have travelled from different cities, countries and continents to the place chosen for the meeting with the Pope and the other young people. The pilgrimage through time has gone from one generation of young people to the next cohort who ‘pick up the baton’, and this has profoundly marked the past thirty-five years in the life of the Church. The young people of WYD are therefore a pilgrim people. They are not vagabonds who move around aimlessly. They are a united people, pilgrims who ‘walk together’ towards a goal, towards an encounter with the One who can give meaning to their existence, the God who became one of us and who calls every young person to be a disciple, to leave everything and to follow. Pilgrimage requires a minimalist approach that asks young people to leave behind empty comforts and certainties, to adopt a style of travel that is sober and welcoming and open to Providence and to “God’s surprises”, a style that teaches them to go beyond themselves and to face the challenges that arise along the way.

The diocesan/eparchial celebration of WYD can propose specific ways for young people to have real pilgrimage experiences. These are the kind of experiences that encourage young people to leave their homes and set out on a journey, and on the way they are introduced to the sweat and toil of the journey, the fatigue of the body and the joy of the spirit. It is often through pilgrimage together that we make new friends, and we experience the excitement of sharing the same ideals as we look together towards a common goal with mutual support in difficulties and the joy of sharing the little we have. All this is of vital importance at the present time because many young people risk isolating themselves in virtual unreal worlds, far from the dusty roads and streets of the world. As a result, they are deprived of the deep satisfaction that comes from painstakingly and patiently reaching the desired goal, not with a simple click, but with the tenacity and perseverance of body and soul. In this sense, the diocesan/eparchial Youth Day is a great opportunity for the younger generations to explore local shrines and other significant places of popular piety. We bear in mind that “various manifestations of popular piety, especially pilgrimages, attract young people who do not readily feel at home in ecclesial structures, and represent a concrete sign of their trust in God”.[27]

f. Youth Day as “an experience of universal fraternity”

WYD must be an opportunity for young people to meet that is not restricted to just young Catholics. “Every young person has something to say to others. He or she has something to say to adults, something to say to priests, sisters, bishops and even the Pope”.[28]

In this respect, the diocesan/eparchial celebration of WYD can be an opportune time for all the young people who live in a given area to come together and talk to each other, regardless of their beliefs, their vision of life or their convictions. Every young person must feel invited to take part and be welcomed as a brother or sister. We need to build “youth ministry capable of being inclusive, with room for all kinds of young people, to show that we are a Church with open doors”.[29]

5. Youth involvement

As already mentioned, it is important for youth ministry workers to be increasingly attentive to involving young people in all the steps of pastoral planning for WYD. It needs to be done in a synodal-missionary style and to make the most of the creativity, language and methods that are typical of that age bracket. Who knows the language and the problems of their peers better than they do? Who is more capable of reaching out to them through art, social media, etc.?

The testimony and experience of young people who have previously taken part in an international WYD deserve to be highlighted in the preparation of the diocesan/eparchial event.

In some particular Churches, the young people who have taken part in an international WYD or who have helped organise national and diocesan/eparchial youth initiatives, are now the “veterans” of these experiences and they have been involved in setting up youth ministry teams in a number of different settings including parish, diocesan/eparchial, national, etc. This shows us that when young people become prime movers in the organisation of particularly significant events, they can easily take on board the ideals that inspired those events. They fully grasp their importance and become passionate about them, and they are willing to devote time and energy to sharing them with others. Their powerful experiences of faith and service often lead to their willingness to commit themselves to the routine pastoral care in their local Church.

We would like to stress that we must have the courage to involve young people and entrust active roles to them. We should include youth from the various pastoral groups present in the diocese as well as those who do not belong to any community, youth group, association or movement. The diocesan/eparchial WYD can be a wonderful opportunity to highlight the richness of the local Church. It is important to ensure that young people who are less present and less “active” in established pastoral structures do not feel excluded. Everyone must feel “specially invited”. They must all feel expected and welcome, each one in their individual uniqueness and human and spiritual potential. In this way, the diocesan/eparchial event can be a very good opportunity to motivate and welcome all those young people who may be looking for their place in the Church and who have not yet found it.

6. The Holy Father's annual Message for WYD

Every year, in advance of the diocesan/eparchial celebration of WYD, the Holy Father publishes a Message for young people. It would therefore be appropriate for the preparatory meetings and the diocesan/eparchial WYD itself to be inspired by these words of the Holy Father to young people, and in particular by the biblical passage that is highlighted in the Message.

It is also important for young people to hear the Word of God and the word of the Church first hand from people close to them − people who are familiar with their characteristics, their history, tastes, difficulties and struggles, expectations and hopes. They would know how best to apply the biblical and magisterial texts to the actual real-life circumstances that these particular young people are encountering. This work of mediation, carried out in catechesis and dialogue, will also help young people to be able to identify specific ways in which to bear witness to the Word of God that they have heard, to live it out in their daily lives and to embody it at home, in their places of work or study and among friends.

The direction proposed by the Pope’s Message, which is intended to accompany the journey of the universal Church with young people, can therefore be interpreted with intelligence and great cultural sensitivity by taking into account the local context. It could also inspire the path of youth ministry in the local Church while not forgetting the two main lines of action that Pope Francis has identified: outreach and growth.[30]

It cannot be excluded that the Message could also be conveyed through various artistic expressions or initiatives of a social nature, as the Holy Father invited us to do in his Message for the 35th WYD when he said, “offer the world, the Church and other young people something beautiful, whether in the realm of the spirit, the arts or society”.[31] Moreover, the content of the Message could also be taken up in other significant moments during the pastoral year, such as Mission Month or the months devoted to the Word of God or to vocations, always taking into account the indications given by the respective episcopal conferences.

Last but not least, the Holy Father’s Message could become the theme of various other meetings for young people that are proposed by those working in youth ministry for the local Church, and by associations and ecclesial movements.

7. Conclusion

The diocesan/eparchial celebration of WYD is undoubtedly an important element in the life of each particular Church. It is a special moment of encounter with the younger generations and an instrument of evangelisation of the world of youth and of dialogue with them. Let us not forget that “the Church has so much to talk about with youth, and youth have so much to share with the Church”.[32]

The Pastoral Guidelines contained in these pages are intended to be a resource that presents the ideal motivations and possible practical implementations that will allow a diocesan/eparchial WYD to be an opportunity to bring out the potential for good that is in each young person, with their generosity, thirst for authentic values and great ideals. We therefore repeat our insistence on the importance of particular Churches devoting special attention to the celebration of the diocesan/eparchial Youth Day, so that it may be properly utilised and appreciated. To invest in young people is to invest in the future of the Church. It is about encouraging vocations, and it effectively means the initiation of remote preparation for the families of tomorrow. It is, therefore, a vital task for every local Church and not simply one more activity.

Let us entrust the path of youth ministry throughout the world to Our Lady. Mary our Mother, as Pope Francis reminds us in Christus Vivit, “looks to this pilgrim people: a youthful people whom she loves, and who seek her in the silence of their hearts amid all the noise, the chatter and the distractions of the journey. Under the gaze of our Mother, there is room only for the silence of hope. Thus Mary illumines anew our youth”.[33]

The Holy Father Pope Francis has given his approval

for the publication of this document

From the Vatican, 22 April 2021

Anniversary of the handing over of the WYD Cross to young people

Kevin Cardinal Farrell


Fr. Alexandre Awi Mello, I.Sch.



[1] John Paul II, To the College of Cardinals and members of the Roman Curia for Christmas, 20 December 1985 [our translation].

[2] Cf. Benedict XVI, Christmas greetings to Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops and Directors of the Governorate of Vatican City State, 22 December 2011.

[3] Pope Francis, Angelus, 4 August 2013.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Cf. Final Document of the Synod of Bishops on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment, 4. Hereafter, this document will be referred to as FD.

[6] The Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life “expresses the particular concern of the Church for the young, promoting their agency in the midst of the challenges of today’s world. It supports the initiatives of the Holy Father in the field of youth ministry and is at the service of the Episcopal Conferences, of international youth movements and associations, promoting their collaboration and organizing meetings on an international level. An important aspect of its activity is the preparation of World Youth Day” (Statutes, art. 8).

[7] FD 119.

[8] Cf. Ibid.

[9] Cf. Pope Francis, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Remarks of the Holy Father at the Conclusion of Holy Mass, 22 November 2020. It is suggested that World Youth Day be held on the same date as the Solemnity of Christ the King, including in Churches where their rite does not provide for this Solemnity, although it can be celebrated on another day. Nevertheless, Ordinaries have the faculty to decide on an alternative.

[10] John Paul II, Angelus, Sunday 25 November 1984 [our translation].

[11] Pope Francis, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Remarks of the Holy Father at the Conclusion of Holy Mass, 22 November 2020, op. cit.

[12] FD 142.

[13] Pope Francis, Post-Synodal Exhortation Christus vivit (ChV) 206.

[14] FD 16.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid., 142.

[17] For more on the contribution of WYD to the spiritual journey of young people see: Benedict XVI, Christmas greetings to Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops and Directors of the Governorate of Vatican City State, 22 December 2011op. cit.; Pope Francis, General Audience, 4 September 2013.

[18] Cf. FD 16 and 142.

[19] Pope Francis, General Audience, 4 September 2013, op. cit.

[20] ChV 206.

[21] ChV 211.

[22] ChV 240.

[23] Cf. ChV 240.

[24] ChV 174.

[25] Pope Francis, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, Homily, 22 November 2020, op. cit.

[26] Cf. Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et exsultate 2.

[27] ChV 238.

[28] Pope Francis, Address at a prayer vigil in preparation for World Youth Day, 8 April 2017.

[29] ChV 234.

[30] Cf. ChV 209.

[31] Pope Francis, Message for the 35th World Youth Day 2020.

[32] John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici 46.

[33] ChV 48.

[00673-EN.01] [Original text: Italian]

FULL TEXT + Image Screenshot from - Official Translation

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Asks All to "...continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem." FULL TEXT

Statement of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem concerning the recent violence in Jerusalem

With all the Heads of Churches, we are “profoundly disheartened and concerned about the recent violent events in East Jerusalem, whether at the Al Aqsa Mosque or in Sheikh Jarrah, which violate the sanctity of the people of Jerusalem and of Jerusalem as the City of Peace," and require of an urgent intervention.

The violence used against the worshippers undermines their safety and their rights to have access to the Holy Places and worship freely. The forced eviction of Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah is also an unacceptable violation of the most fundamental human rights, the right to a home. It is a question of justice for the inhabitants of the city to live, pray and work, each according to his/her own dignity; a dignity bestowed upon humanity by God himself.

Regarding the situation in Sheik Jarrah, we echo the words of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights who said that the rule of law is being "applied in an inherently discriminatory manner". This has become a main flashpoint amid rising tensions in Jerusalem in general. The issue today is not a matter of a real-estate dispute between private parties. It is rather an attempt driven by an extremist ideology which denies the right of existence of a person in his own home.

Also of particular concern is the right to access the Holy Places. Palestinian worshippers have been denied access to Al Aqsa Mosque during this month of Ramadan. These demonstrations of strength wound the spirit and soul of the Holy City, whose vocation is to be open and welcoming; to be a home for all believers, with equal rights and dignity and duties.

The historic position of the Churches in Jerusalem is clear with regards to our denouncement of any attempt which makes Jerusalem an exclusive city for anyone. This is a city sacred to the three monotheistic religions and, based on international law and relevant UN resolutions, also a city where the Palestinian people, Christians and Muslims, have the same right to build a future based on freedom, equality and peace. We also call for an utter respect for the historic Status Quo of all Holy Places, including Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound.

The authority that controls the city should protect the special character of Jerusalem, called to be the heart of the Abrahamic faiths, a place of prayer and meeting, open to all and where all believers and citizens, of every faith and belonging, can feel at home, protected and guaranteed.

Our Church has been clear that peace requires justice. Insofar as far as the rights of everyone, Israelis and Palestinians, are not upheld and respected, there will be no justice and therefore no peace in the city. It is our duty not to ignore injustice nor any aggression against human dignity regardless of who is committing them.

We call upon the International Community, the Churches and all people of goodwill to intervene in order to put an end to these provocative actions, and to continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. We join in prayer with the intention of the Holy Father Pope Francis that “the multi-religious and multi-cultural identity of the Holy City might be respected and that fraternity might prevail.”

Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa

May 9, 2021

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