WYD 2011: 'Important energy in the Church'

2011-08-09 Vatican Radio

St Paul’s command to the early Christian communities to be ‘firm in the faith’ is the message that Pope Benedict XVI will be bringing to over a million modern day young Christians from all over the world who’ll be attending World Youth Day celebrations in Madrid, Spain, next week. The event, which gets underway on August 16th, will culminate the following weekend with a Way of the Cross through the city centre on Friday evening, followed by a Saturday prayer vigil and Sunday Mass celebrated by the Pope at Madrid’s ‘Cuatro Vientos’ airport. That same command to be ‘strong in faith’ is also the motto of the Society of Mary, grouping together the different branches of Marianist priests, brothers, sisters and lay people who look to the 19th century French priest, Fr William Joseph Chaminade as their founder. With a strong focus on education, the Society runs schools and universities, as well as other centres and programmes providing physical and spiritual care for children and young people in over 40 countries across the globe The current secretary general of the Society of Mary is Br Michael McAward who is heading to Madrid with a group of 150 high school students from his home province in the United States. He told Philippa Hitchen that World Youth Days are an experience of great energy and hope – for the young people but also for those accompanying them on this pilgrimage of shared faith… Listen: 00:12:42:41 “The first year I went ….. I expected a kind of a jamboree, something very emotional, very youthful, but what I didn’t know about was the depth of World Youth Day….” “When a person joins together with others in support of what they believe, it gives them a confidence, an identity…. an idea that they are not alone in having a strong faith and expressing it.” “Having followed many of these young people years after their World Youth Day experience, I can say that the experience of faith they’ve met there, in many cases, is very lasting….” “The fact that someone as important as the Holy Father cares about them, about their faith and their life, even about their music, is very important to them….” “You come away with a sense that ….young people do posses a religious sensibility, that we can relate together with them and that they are an important energy for the Church, when we learn how to touch their lives.”