(Vatican Radio) The 7th Asian Youth Day (AYD7) kicked off with a colourful concelebrated Mass Wednesday evening in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in a colourful and festive show of unity around Christ and his Gospel amidst the continent’s diverse cultures and peoples.
After four days of the preliminary ‘Days in the Dioceses’ (DID) live-in programme in 11 Indonesian dioceses, July 30- August 2, the over 2000 young Catholics from 21 countries converged in Yogyakarta , the cultural and intellectual heartland of Indonesia. The 7th Asian Youth Day on the theme “ Joyful Asian Youth! Living the Gospel in Multicultural Asia ,” will conclude on Aug. 6.
Youth participants had begun pouring in at Yogyakarta’s government facility, Jogja Expo Centre (JEC), since early morning, August 2. After lunch the various national contingents began celebrating with songs and performances and shared their DID experiences of living with local families in dioceses, in preparation for the Eucharistic celebration.
The inaugural AYD7 Mass , that was streamed live by organizers, was presided over by Bangladeshi Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario of Dhaka, chairman of the Office of Laity and Family of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), under which comes the Youth Desk that organizes the AYD in collaboration with the country’s bishops’ conference body and its youth commission. Joining Card. D’Rozario at the altar were 52 bishops, including 6 cardinals and 158 priests . Among the concelebrants were AYD host Archbishop Robertus Rubiyatmoko of Semarang, Indonesian bishops’ president, Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo of Jakarta and President of Indonesian bishops’ Youth Commission, Bishop Pius Riana Prapdi of Ketapang.
Card. D’Rozario began his homily singing a few lines from the hymn, “Rejoice in the Lord always….” setting the mood of his reflection on the theme of the AYD7– “Joyful Asian Youth! Living the Gospel in Multicultural Asia.” The young people, many in traditional dress and country t-shirts and holding their country flags, joined in with rhythmic clapping accompanied by the piano. The cardinal explained that the reason for their joy was that Jesus loves them, despite their unworthiness and sinfulness . He said when they feel sad or without joy, it is then that Jesus loves them most. Jesus loves them by calling them, choosing them and sending them out to mission, to proclaim His love, mercy, compassion and healing to others .
Card. D’Rozario compared the AYD gathering to the Pentecost where people of diverse cultures, languages, ethnic groups and nations of Asia were one in the Holy Spirit who manifests Himself in a variety of gifts. The Holy Spirit was inviting them all to celebrate their oneness of faith, life and mission at the WYD.
After dinner, the AYD7 was officially launched with a variety programme in which the participating countries showcased thier cultural richness.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met briefly with the managers and players of the German “Borussia Mönchengladbach” soccer team on Wednesday, inviting them to be “athletes for peace”. The Holy Father met with them ahead of his weekly General Audience . He thanked the team for the “friendly relations” built up through the years between the team and the Vatican Employees’ Athletic Association. The teams sometimes face off on the field in Rome and in Mönchengladbach. The Pope said the club “distinguishes itself by being a team ‘at the human level’, in a manner of speaking, and a team which promotes the family.” Pope Francis said he enjoyed seeing “how families live in your Borussia Park and how many athletic and educative initiatives are held to promote young people, in particular the less fortunate,” he said. Finally, the Pope invited those sportsmen present to “be athletes for good and for peace”. “I entrust you, your families, and all your loved ones to the Lord. May He ever accompany you with His blessing.” (from Vatican Radio)…CONTINUE READING
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday resumed his General Audiences, after they were suspended during the month of July for a summer break.
The Holy Father once more took up the theme of Christian Hope, focusing on the Sacrament of Baptism, the Gateway of Hope.
In his catechesis, Pope Francis spoke about several aspects of the Baptismal liturgy. The older form of Baptism anticipated catechumens making the first part of their profession of faith turned to the west. After rejecting Satan, they turned to the apse, toward the east, where the sun rises, and professed their faith in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
In our times, the Pope said, we have lost our fascination with this rite; we have lost our “sensitivity to the language of the cosmos.” But we have retained the significance of the rite: To be a Christian means “to look to the light, to continue to make the profession of faith in the light, even when the world is wrapped up in the night and in darkness”:
Christians, he said, are not exempt from darkness. “They do not live outside the world, but through the grace of Christ received in Baptism, they are men and women who are ‘oriented’: they do not believe in darkness, but in the brightness of the day; they do not succumb to the night, but hope in the dawn; they are not defeated by death, but are yearning to rise again; they are not bent down by evil, because they trust always in the infinite possibilities of goodness. And this is our Christian hope.”
The Pope also looked at the symbolism of the gift of a candle during the Baptism ceremony. The candle is lit from the Paschal candle, and recalls the Easter vigil liturgy when the light goes out from the Paschal candle to all the individual candles, and the whole Church is illuminated. The life of the Church, the Pope said – using a strong expression – is a kind of “contamination” by the light of Christ, which is spread from one to another. “The more of the light of Jesus that we have as Christians, the more of the light of Jesus there is in the life of the Church, and the more the Church lives.”
Finally Pope Francis gave the faithful a kind of “homework assignment.” He asked those present to remember the day of their Baptism, “which is the date of your rebirth, it is the date of the light, it is the date in which…we were contaminated by the light of Christ.”
“What a grace it is,” the Holy Father said in conclusion, “when a Christian truly becomes a ‘Christopher’,” a “bearer of Christ” in the world. “If we would be faithful to our Baptism, we would spread the light of hope – Baptism is the beginning of hope, that hope of God – and we would pass on to future generations reasons for life.”
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis held a General Audience on Wednesday, August 2nd, the first of his weekly appointments with pilgrims and tourists after their suspension for the month of July. The Holy Father continued his series of catechetical reflections on Christian hope, this Wednesday focusing on the Sacrament of Baptism, which he described as the “gateway to hope”. Below, please find the full text of the English-language summary of his prepared remarks, which was read after the main catechesis.
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
In our continuing catechesis on Christian hope, we now consider the sacrament of baptism as the gate to eternal life. In the early Church, those about to be baptized made their profession of faith facing eastward, seeing the rising sun as a symbol of Christ. Even if our modern world has lost contact with such cosmic imagery, this symbolism retains its power. For what does it mean to be Christian, but to confess our faith in the light, a light that casts out gloom and darkness? In putting on Christ at baptism we become children of light. This light gives us new hope, helps us to know God as Father, and enables us to recognize Jesus in the weakest and poorest. When we were baptized we received a candle that was lit from the Paschal Candle, as a sign of Christ’s victory over the darkness of sin and death. This is also a sign of the life of the Church: to be ablaze with this new light! As Christians, let us remind each other that we have been reborn as children of the light, and, faithful to our baptismal calling, let us share the new hope that Jesus brings.
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from Japan, Nigeria, Iraq and the United States of America. I am especially pleased to welcome the pilgrims from the Chaldean Patriarchate, accompanied by Bishop Shlemon Warduni. Upon all of you, I invoke the grace of the Lord Jesus, that you may be a sign of Christian hope in your homes and communities. May God bless you!
(from Vatican Radio)…