World Youth Day: Unity, not division

The manager of our website sent us this photo from Lourdes where pilgrims participated in a rosary procession

Via social media, we are receiving reports that the group from the Diocese of Arlington is already feeling blessed on their pilgrimage to World Youth Day. Yesterday they were in Lourdes, France, and they have a full itinerary ahead of them! Be sure to follow us on Facebook to hear more on their progress – and, of course, to keep them in your prayers.

If you haven’t already had an opportunity to read it, Bishop Loverde wrote on just why World Youth Day is an antidote to much of the negativity in our world. 

“Whether it is via a newspaper, on a smartphone or on the television, many of you, like me, scan the daily news headlines. At times, following the news can be disheartening. Headlines often proclaim stories of division — between nations, ethnic groups, politicians and even neighbors.

What is our response to the disconnect that exists in our world? The simplest approach may seem to be to ignore this onslaught of negativity, to turn off the computer or the television or to set aside the morning paper. Yet, as the Holy Father reminded us during his visit to our region just a few short years ago, Catholics are not to be discouraged by the challenges of the secularism, materialism and individualism that surround us, but are to bring their Faith to the public square (Pope Benedict XVI, Address to the United States bishops, April 16, 2008). We are to transform the world as instruments of Christ. This engagement of our culture is part of the New Evangelization; that is, the renewal of the Faith in our own life and, through this personal renewal, the renewal of our world.

For young people, disheartened and divided by a secular culture, as well as distracted from the pursuit of Faith by the constant diversions that the new technology offers, this renewal is critical. More than any generation before them, a good number of young people are disconnected from religion and the hope that it brings. In fact, one in four American “millenials” (teens and young adults) do not adhere to a particular set of beliefs, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center (Pew Research Center, February 2010).”
Read the rest of the column here.

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