|All of these photos are from our recent Christmas Party (I didn't realize that my dog Finbar photobombed me in this one)|
Today I saw university students worshipping God at Sunday Mass. It's exam week and they're all stressed out and overwhelmed, but there they were at Mass. I love seeing them smiling, greeting one another, praying, listening to God's Word, and receiving the Eucharist. Do you see what I see? I see several young men and women at Mass each Sunday preparing to become Catholic at Easter. Do you see what I see? I see students today making sandwiches in our Newman Center kitchen and then delivering them to homeless on the streets of Boston. Do you see what I see? I see a congregation filled with different races and languages who are bound together by their Catholic Faith. Do you see what I see? I see a young man at Mass today for the first time since coming to school. I see scores of students going to
Do you hear what I hear?
I hear the words, "Bless me father for I have sinned," all the time. I hear students inviting others to live the friendship that is the Catholic life. I hear these young men and women sharing their testimonies, how the Lord has touched and transformed their lives. I hear them express gratitude for the ways that the Lord has rescued them from various sins. I hear them affirming one another
Do you know what I know?
I know that these young people were formed firstly by good Catholic families and by good parishes. I know that the reason they come to Mass while they are in college is because they were taught well--by word and by example--never to miss Sunday Mass. I know that they learned how to confess their sins with humility, with total honesty, and with sincerity. I know that they are rare. I know that while many are falling away from the Faith, these young people are growing in the Faith. I know that is because others--perhaps their parents, teachers, parish priests, youth ministers, others--were effective teachers and witnesses. Do you know what I know? I know that these young people are the hope of the Church in the United States. I know that we need good, solid formation in our parishes and in our families. I know that these young people are the fruit of the hard work of others. I know that when you raise young men and women to live the Catholic life in all of its fullness; teaching them to love the Sacraments, teaching them to live the moral life in its totality, and teaching them how to pray, you give them a treasure beyond all price.
Listen to what I say.
The hard work of parenting, the hard work of parish life, it does pay off. I spend all of my time seeing and listening to young men and women who are extraordinary. They are living the Catholic life, fighting the good fight. They desire to be close to our Lord, to love Him, and to serve Him. They are generous and joyous in sharing the Faith with others. I am very blessed to live and work in the midst of a community of young and faithful Catholics. Listen to what I say: for the sake of young people, make Jesus Christ the center of your families and of your parishes. They need a solid foundation. They need the example of their parents and of their communities.
The risk of young Catholics being deceived and going down the wrong path is enormous. Studies show that if a young man or woman stops practicing the Faith, the chances are very slim that they will ever return. If you had the chance to see what I see every day, to hear what I hear every day, to know what I've learned from being surrounded by this great cloud of witnesses every day, then you would be moved to rededicate your life to strengthening your own families and your parishes to living out the Catholic life to its fullest.
When we raise young people in the Catholic Faith, we introduce them to Jesus. In turn, they help us to see, hear, and know Jesus. Please, I've seen it, heard it, and have known it for myself.
When Jesus is at the center of our life, He brings us goodness and light.