Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in one of the halls at Exhibition Place during World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto, Ontario. Priests, religious and laity--including many youth--led Holy Hours with music and meditation, in their native tongues.
Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, during his entrance for the Arrival ceremony at World Youth Day 2002 at Exhibition Place in Toronto.
NEW!!! NEW!!! NEW!!! NEW!!!
Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, Patron of World Youth Days, Feast-July 4
Pier Giorgio (1901-1925), of Turin, Italy, was born into a wealthy and influential family. He was a rugged athlete, who loved mountain climbing. Pier Giorgio served in many Catholic organizations; he especially promoted Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to Our Lady--both publicly and among friends. He ministered to the needy, and was a great defender of chastity. Pier Giorgio was often found praying his Rosary before the Blessed Sacrament, even in the middle of the night. Called by Pope John Paul II "the man of the eight beatitudes," Pier Giorgio lived a life of heroic virtue. Inspired and strengthened by daily participation in Mass, Communion, Adoration and praying the Rosary, he spent his short life in service of the needy, poor and sick. In her book A Man of the the Beatitudes: Pier Giorgio Frassati, his sister, Luciana Frassati, wrote that "The eucharistic Christ was his sovereign Lord, whom he never ceased to adore."
In an address to young people, Bl. Pier Giorgio said, "Feed on this Bread of Angels and from it you will gain the strength to fight your inner battle, the battle against passion and all adversities, because Jesus Christ has promised to those who feed on the Holy Eucharist eternal life and the graces necessary to obtain it. And when you are totally consumed by this eucharistic fire, then you will be able more consciously to thank God who has called you to become part of that multitude, and you will enjoy the peace that those who are happy in accordance with this world have never experienced, because true happiness does not consist in the pleasures of the world or in earthly things, but in peace of conscience, which we only have if we are pure in heart and mind."
On April 5, 2001 Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, met with 40,000 youth at St. Peter's square in Rome, inviting them to get ready for World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He gave a challenge to the youth of the world to prepare for this awesome event by:
"Prayer, hearing the Word of God and meditation, the Mass, Eucharistic adoration, and the sacrament of confession."
Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration
"I feel Jesus' presence more strongly. I don't see the host. I picture Jesus there. It's like he's right there and I'm talking to him," Joy Galvez, freshman at Seattle University.
Hello my name is Amber. I live in Ohio. I am 18 years old. I recently converted to Catholicism this past Easter. I attend adoration quite often. Going before the Blessed Sacrament was actually what made me want to convert to the faith. I was raised a Jehovah's Witness, and when my parents got divorced I stopped attending the meetings. I was never baptized (you don't get baptized until you are older). I never even thought about religion much. I knew I believed in God, but left it at that.
Then I met this guy and I started to go to adoration with him. I think that God was truly working on me. I learned the rosary and started to pray it all the time. The next thing I knew I was in RCIA classes. This was the best decision I made in my entire life. (There are more details but I don't want to ramble on). Now I do three holy hours a week and attend mass at least three times a week.
I found your book [Letters to a Brother Priest] in the chapel about a month ago. John, the guy in the beginning, read the book with me. We would take turns reading the stories to each other. We were both filled with so much joy after reading each story. Everyone should read your book! We all need to go before the Blessed Sacrament! I believe that every parish should have perpetual adoration. Look what it did to me!
If the Holy Father came to my parish everyone would be there, but when Jesus is there why is the parish so empty?? I just want to let you know how much your book was an inspiration to me!!! Especially that story about the little girl who snuck past the guards to receive our Lord in Holy Communion every night. That story would make anyone want to go to daily mass and do a holy hour once a day. Thank you so much for coming out with that book! God Bless you all!!
My name is Anthony and I am a 15 year old guy from NJ. I just wanted to share with everyone some of the awesome ways Our Lord's Holy Spirit is moving so powerfully among young people and most especially in the Eucharist!!! A little over a year ago the Lord touched my heart and changed me forever as I was serving as an altar boy during Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Since then I have witnessed tons of other young people completely transformed during Adoration!!! Our Eucharistic Lord never ceases to pour out his incredible love!!! One of the many times I have seen our Lord touch so many hearts was last week during a youth retreat that I was helping to lead at our parish. It was an awesome sight as 100 young people fell on their knees before our Lord Jesus and about 20 of us around the altar fell prostrate at the feet of the King of Kings! Wow!! I thank God for the wonderful gift of our parish's new Perpetual Adoration Chapel and for blessing me with other young people who share my love and passion for Him in the Eucharist!! Please keep me in your prayers, I love you all!! Most Holy Trinity, I adore You!! My God, my God, I love You in the Most Blessed Sacrament!!!
I was first introduced to Eucharistic Adoration by a priest when I was 16. I just showed up one summer morning when Our Lord was exposed, not sure I'd do. I was not ready for what I experienced. I kneeled and simply looked at Him, and I was totally captured by the Love, the Humility, the Presence of God. All doubts disappeared, and from then on I went every month.
I then went to a Catholic college and would sign up for the late hours once a month, until I attended Benediction one evening. Soon I attended Benediction every day, and before I knew it I was doing a Holy Hour every week, and soon it was twice a week. I simply fell in Love with Him. I am entering the cloister this summer, and I discerned my vocation at His Feet... I was fortunate that my College offered Adoration and Benediction everyday because it was during my Holy Hours that I found comfort, I found help, I found a friend, I found Love.
I even wrote a poem about our Eucharistic Lord:
The Wisdom you desire,
the Friend you seek,
the Savior you need
Things you could not see,
the Father you did not know,
the Life you did not have,
I AM HERE
Seek no longer,
don't travel far,
all things you long for,
I AM HERE
My Incarnation you can touch,
my Body you can see,
my Heart you can hear,
I AM HERE
Come see Beauty,
Come see Truth,
Come see Love,
Come and visit "I AM"
(Carmen Ribera, California)
by Matthew Price, Australia
Learning How to Trust
God has touched my life in many different ways. It started in 1989 when I had a strong conversion in Medjugorje after going there with my family. At the time I was a skateboarder listening to heavy metal and Punk music and living by the motto "live fast, die young." My favorite band was Suicidal Tendencies and I had a death wish that I wouldn't live to my 18th birthday. I hated religion and did not want anything to do with it yet. Medjugorje changed all this for me and while I was there I was shown the presence and the peace of God.
The Lord says that if we choose to follow Him then we must also choose to carry the cross. After Medjugorje I experienced--for the first real time--rejection. This was very hard to accept. A short time after I started to regret having gone to Medjugorje. I was being torn inside. My new religious beliefs were conflicting my ideals and wants of what the world had to offer. I related to Eve with the apple yet for me I craved the apple and wanted it so much but didn't believe in taking it. And I regretted Medjugorje for this. I could not accept the cross.
It was a struggle to keep my religious beliefs but I battled with it and persisted. I prayed to Mary and she helped me through the rough times. She brought me closer to her Son and now my love for God grows each day. This came into effect one day when I was traveling on the train.
I was joined in the carriage by a group of about 10 skinheads. Just before they came to where I was sitting I said a little prayer, "Lord my life is in your hands. I give it to you and whatever happens is up to you." All my fear just seemed to disappear. I ended up at the police station that night with a bloody nose but it could have been a lot worse as there was also a knife involved. It was in the hard times that God would comfort me. If I didn't have God in my life I didn't have anything.
A few years later I felt the hard blow of rejection again. But this time it was from close family friends with whom I attended a prayer group. This had a huge impact on me and my trust in friendships was shattered. I did not want to be hurt again. I withdrew away from prayer groups and friendships and would not let anyone get close to me. I built a wall of ice around me but unfortunately I buried myself so deep that I became that ice as well. Once again I did not follow Jesus in carrying my cross.
At the beginning of last year I decided to go to a prayer group called "Wellsprings of Mercy." Wellsprings is blessed to have the presence of the Lord each week in the Blessed Sacrament. It was this that drew me. My reason for going was to discern my life's journey. I did not want to make friends. But it was here that I felt acceptance. And it was through the people at Wellsprings that I have learnt to follow Christ in the good times and the bad. My conversion has been a long process and I can now accept my cross and follow the Lord without a second thought. It was here that God melted my ice wall and showed me how to trust again. He has shown me His love and acceptance through my relationships with others. I have made many new friendships. And it was at Wellsprings in my journey with the Lord that I met my best friend and fiance [now wife] Bridie.
When I was 11 I chose Paul for my confirmation name but back then I could not forsee the impact that this would have on me years later. I can now comprehend the graces given to us by receiving the Holy Spirit and thank God for this opportunity that I took for granted. Each day before I leave home I offer my day to God and each night before I go to bed I thank Him for the day that He has given me. I could not think of life without my relationship with the Holy Trinity and I now know that His will is all that matters. I have learnt to trust in God unconditionally and it is through this that I now live my life.
Jesus is Here
Reflections from Youth 2000 New York
"The Word became flesh, and made His dwelling among us...," resounded the words of John as we entered the tent and into the Presence of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. The "Tent of the Lord," as one translation of John reads, was truly "pitched among us" as nine hundred young people came together to be set afire by the Presence of Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Gathering from all over the country and abroad, we were called to Auriesville by the Eucharistic Heart of Our Lord. From July 18th to the 21st, we experienced both an intimate 'meeting' with Jesus Truly Present in the Holy Eucharist, and a renewal of our belief in the Presence of His Body and Blood in our world today.
The weekend was led by a phenomenal group of young people known as "YOUTH 2000," and Fr. Benedict Groeschel's Seraphic Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Renewal. The Center of our weekend was Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, The Center of Our Faith and The Lamb of God, who is truly present in our world today. Our days were spent in praise and worship of Him, whether through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, or the extension of this wondrous Sacrament of Love, Eucharistic Adoration. In this way we not only physically prayed "up in the mountains", but we were spiritually led by Our Lady to her Son's Eucharistic Presence there, as he once took His disciples to this 'summit' to pray.
Quickly, we 'entered in' to the Love of Jesus. Towards the beginning, Fr. Stan Fortuna, CFR sang: "Do this in My memory, I want you to stay close to Me...and I want you all to feel the Love I have for you in this Meal." We met His Love through His Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament, and we met Him at His Passion as we prayed the Stations. Through the eyes of Mary we meditated upon these "Sorrowful Mysteries." Singing verses from "Were You There," including: "Were you there when He met her face to face," and "Were you there when she held Him in her arms," we saw the sufferings of Christ through His Mother's Heart. Nature certainly manifested Divine emotion, as thunder clashed during the Stations creating a powerful requiem. In the very same way, a rainbow shone over us in memory of His Covenant that still remains with us in His Real Presence today.
Sr. Ann Lynn Agro, CFR spoke to us of the peace and love God has for us in the Sacrament of confession. Speaking powerfully of Jesus' mercy and forgiveness, she encouraged us to come to Him. After spending time with Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, and basking in His Love, people were drawn by a strong desire to be reconciled to Him. Through stories of conversion and transformation, many were led to this wondrous Sacrament of God's grace and healing.
Tremendous grace and liberation burst forth as a beautiful Eucharistic Procession and Healing Service was held. While Adoring Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament we heard the story of Jesus healing the woman with the hemorrhage. In a large crowd, as the Gospel tells us, a woman made her way to Jesus, saying, "If only I can touch the hem of His garment, I will be healed." The woman reached out in faith, and the healing power of Our Lord was showered upon her. Fr. Terry Messer, CFR carried Our Lord throughout the large crowd of young people, as we reached out to 'touch the cloak' near Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Each young person reached out - some skeptically, some faithfully; yet, as Jesus passed by any sense of disbelief vanished. This trustful Adoration of Our Lord caused His Eucharistic Heart to unleash His Healing upon us, just as He did nearly two thousand years ago.
The "GIorious" mysteries of Our Lord and Our Lady were explained so wonderfully in a talk by Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR. For, he spoke of how the the Holy Spirit leads us to deep love for Jesus, Our Eucharistic Lord. We were blessed to hear the compelling message of Molly Kelly, a powerful speaker on chastity. Mrs. Kelly, urged us to offer our bodies to Jesus. For when Jesus says, "This Is My Body," we can offer Him our bodies too. We have to, she reminded us, draw our strength from Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
That night we were blessed to hear from Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, who is founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. During this time he spoke beautifully about the Jesuit martyrs at Auriesville, and the New Evangelization. As we gazed upon the True Presence of Jesus, Who was present near us over a 'mountain' of candles, Fr. Benedict told us that we must be like those candles. We must be those lights in the years that lie ahead, as we approach the new millennium, the two thousandth birthday of Our Lord.
Fr. Harold Brock, CFR led us in procession with the Most Blessed Sacrament to the ravine where St. Rene Goupil was martyred. The night was dark and the air cool as we processed to this sacred ground, which had been blessed by the blood of the martyrs. Our 'lights' shone both externally and internally walking down the rocky pathway. Quietly we sang, "The Lord is my Light, my Light and my Salvation...In Him I Trust," and the beautiful Taize chant, "Adoramus Te Domine." The Eucharistic procession and Adoration in the ravine was, as one of the Friars put it, like the consummation of the martyrdom of these holy men. For, Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament is both the beginning and fulfillment of all things.
The closing Mass included Fr. Benedict Groeschel's poignant message on the Gospel story of the Good Samaritan. Using St. Augustine's idea of the Good Samaritan representing Christ, and the fallen man signifying humanity, we heard of the unfathomable mercy of our God, The God who finds us "sick" and struggling on the road, and lifts us up to take us to the Inn. This is the same Lord that is present with us today in the Most Blessed Sacrament, who paid not the measurable gold of the Samaritan, but the immeasurable Love of His Body and Blood to save us. Still, He continues to remain with us in Love each day! This is the God who will, as Fr. Benedict explained, meet us at the Inn at the point of our death, and 'pay' with His Love for what we lack, if we will only know Him, love Him, and follow Him.
A vocation talk followed the Mass. Fr. Glenn Sudano, CFR spoke with great inspiration on the greatest call we are each given by Christ - the call to holiness. He urged us to stay close to Christ to follow Him - Our Heart's Desire - and to listen to His message within our lives. Those among us who desired to serve God in the consecrated life were asked to come forward. Many young people came forward and stood, like the "witnesses" for God that he talked about in an earlier homily.
As Fr. Harold Brock, CFR so beautifully explained, Our Lady leads us to her Son Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Mary is like the glass in the center of the Monstrance. For Mary is the glass through which we see Jesus. Throughout her life, Mary became invisible, leading people to her Son. In the very same way, Our Mother Mary continues to carry us today, to the throne of His Eucharistic Love. Adoration of Jesus is the fulfillment of our consecration to Mary, because it is through Adoration that we truly grow in union with Christ, with her love.
As the torch is passed on in the Olympics, we are reminded that it is being passed on throughout the world. The Light of the World is Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, He is the One true Gold, the One true Key to the future. We are called to Adore Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament, to receive Him, to come to Him often, and to spend time with Him. This is the message of YOUTH 2000: Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament is here, He is the answer the world has waited for! As Our Lady of Guadalupe, their patroness, said over four hundred years ago, "Build a church for my Son." And as Jesus Himself, told St. Francis, "Rebuild My Church." for it is only through Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament that True Peace can be reached in our world. True Unity among Christians, True Restoration of human life, and True Love for one another will not come until belief in His True Presence is restored. When we return to Him with heart felt love, and Adore Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament we will see His Light inflame and illumine our world. In the words of the young people, "It IS really Him," and "He IS with us." As Pope John Paul II has spoken, let us together pray, "May Our Adoration Never Cease!"
Copyright 1996, Mary Beth Bracy. All rights reserved.
Be Not Afraid!
Pope John Paul II
World Youth Day 1993
DO NOT BE AFRAID to break out of the comfortable and routine modes of living, in order to take up the challenge of making Christ known in the modern "metropolis."
It is YOU who must go out into the byroads and invite everyone you meet to the Banquet which God has prepared for His people. The Gospel must not be kept hidden because of fear and indifference.
"The Church lives and grows in Christ and through Christ...all are called to the living and true presence of Him." (Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day in Manila, 1995)
Master Where Are you staying?
Come and See
Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II
World Youth Day " Paris, France
Thanks to the Eucharist, constantly renewed among all peoples of the world, Christ continues to build His church: He brings us together in praise and thanksgiving for salvation, in the communion which only infinite love can forge...
Dear young friends, may your presence here mean a true commitment in faith! For Christ is now answering your own question and the questions of all those who seek the Living God. He answers by offering an invitation: This is My Body, take It and eat. To the Father He entrusts His supreme desire: that all those whom He loves may be one in the same communion...
Jesus lives among us in the Eucharist, the supreme fulfillment of His Real Presence, a Presence that is contemporary with the history of humankind. Amidst the uncertainties and distractions of daily life, imitate the disciples on their way to Emmaus... Call out to Jesus to remain with you always along the many roads to Emmaus of our time. May He be your strength, your point of reference, your enduring hope. May the Eucharistic Bread, dear young people, never be lacking on the tables of your existence. And may you draw from this Bread the strength to bear witness to the faith!
World Youth Day 1997, Paris, France
Come and See
In Preparation for World Youth Day 1997
"Master, where do you live?," the disciples asked Jesus. He replied, "Come and see." (Jn. 1:38, 39) These powerful lines of the Gospel of John are the theme for World Youth Day 1997. As thousands of Catholics throughout the world await this wondrous event, we as young people, are invited to reflect upon these words. We are challenged by Jesus to set out on a search and a journey.
The words introducing and following this Gospel theme help shed light on our pathway. For we read as St. John the Baptist proclaims, "Behold the Lamb of God!" Then following Jesus's visit with the disciples, in which He invited them to stay with Him, they heralded His coming exclaiming, "We have found the Messiah!" Yet, what does this message mean for YOUTH 2000? What does this message mean for you and me as young people?
Quite simply, it means this: Jesus is here. We are being called to come to Him, to see Him, to behold Him - the Lamb of God - today. For we have found the Messiah, and now He is asking us to stay with Him. Through His Eucharistic Presence, Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament dwells in our midst just as He did two thousand years ago. This is the same Jesus saying to each one of us, "Come and see."
Regardless of who we are, or where we have been, the message remains the same. Our God has come to save. Jesus invites all to receive Him in Holy Communion, and to spend time with Him in Eucharistic Adoration. Some of us may have already begun receiving and adoring Him. Others may not have begun. Still, some might think that Jesus' invitation to "come" is not for them. Yet, just as God created each of us, so too is His love and mercy for each of us.
This Love, this Mercy, this Peace of our God - through His most awesome power and humility - is contained for us under the appearance of bread and wine. Jesus came down to earth for us, that we may go up to heaven with Him. All of the love and peace and mercy in the world combined are not even a spark in comparison to the Love that waits for us in Jesus' Eucharistic Presence.
Throughout the Gospels Jesus worked many miracles. One of the most widely remembered miracles is when Jesus healed the woman with the hemorrhage. As He was walking in the midst of a huge crowd, a woman began walking towards Him saying, "If I can touch the hem of His cloak, I will be healed!" She stepped out in faith and reached out to Him. Because of her trust, Jesus' healing and life-changing power poured out upon her.
This same Jesus is here with us today. Will we take that step? Will we journey towards Him?
Recently we celebrated the feast of Mary Magdalene in the church. She was a prostitute who, upon being forgiven by Christ, became the "apostle to the apostles." Following her conversion, she lived the mysteries of the rosary in imitation of Mary, our Mother. In her love for Jesus, she came before Him and anointed His feet with perfume, wiping them off with her hair. Her adoration and love was unwavering. We recall that she stood with Our Lady and John the Beloved apostle at the foot of the cross. Then on Easter morning, she went to find the Lord.
We are called as Magdalene, to adore Jesus. To ask for His forgiveness, to live in His love. To anoint His feet with our prayers of perfume, and to never stop journeying closer to Him. Yet, He is here - truly and personally present in the Eucharist - we need only come.
Jesus knew that we could not travel the pathway alone. This is why He has given us the gift of His Mother. She does not, as some would say, take us away from Him. Rather she leads us directly to Him. Our Lady was the first tabernacle of Jesus. She was the perfect adorer of Christ. Her image of Guadalupe is the the example and model of YOUTH 2000. Why? Because it was in Guadalupe that she led her children to her Son, just as she is leading each one of us to Him today. If we allow her into our lives, Mary will carry us into the dawning of the new millennium.
Of this, Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II writes, "The year 2000 will be intensely Eucharistic: in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the Savior, who took flesh in Mary"s womb twenty centuries ago, continues to offer Himself to humanity as the source of divine life." (As The Third Millennium Draws Near) Hence, if we follow her example, in letting Jesus be born into our lives, then He will be born into our world.
Each time we receive Jesus in Holy Communion, each moment we spend before Him in the most Blessed Sacrament, He draws not only our own soul, but the souls of all humanity deeper into His Love. For as the great French Saint, Therese of Lisieux, said almost a century ago: "It is not to remain in a golden ciborium that He (Jesus) comes down each day from Heaven, but to find another Heaven, the Heaven of our soul in which He takes delight." And, "You must open a little, or rather raise on high your corolla so that the Bread of Angels may come as divine dew to strengthen you, and to give all that is wanting to you." As we prepare for World Youth Day in Paris, let us journey towards the dwelling place of His Eucharistic Presence. Let us enter into His Love. May we come to Him and live in Him that we might taste and see. Copyright 1997, M. Bracy. All rights reserved.
We Saw Jesus
World Youth Day 1997-Paris, France
"We came to see Paris, We came to see Taize, We came to see Dijon - We saw Jesus," read a World Youth Day t-shirt, "Come and see." (Jn. 1:39) Journeying with Youth 2000, a movement of young people centered on the Eucharist, I set forth for a week of searching and discovering in this great land of French Catholic heritage. On Thursday August 14, my pilgrimage to what Our Holy Father calls the "heartbeat" of Europe began.
Landing in London on Friday, our group drove to Aylesford England to the Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It was here that Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, and gave him the brown scapular as a sign of her maternal protection. For she promised that all who wear her scapular and lead holy lives would see salvation. This mantle of Our Lady covered us throughout the pilgrimage. She led us to her Son every step of the way.
Having traveled by ferry across the English channel, we journeyed to Normandy, France. Here we spent Saturday with other young people from Germany, the United Kingdom and France praying at the memorial place where D-day took place. Our prayer of peace and unity, a sign manifesting the universality of the Church, hung over the battlefield where so many lives were lost. As we stood looking upon a sea of white crosses, commemorating the dead, we consecrated our lives to Jesus, Who is Peace.
Sunday we visited Lisieux, home of the great French Saint, Therese. Our first visit brought us to her parish where she received Holy Communion as a child. I recalled the words in her autobiography of this first "kiss" of her soul. We then walked the roads in the little city to her house where she lived from the time she was four to fifteen. Meditatively we gazed amid her garden of roses, recalling her great simplicity, and love as the little flower and Spouse of Jesus. Our footsteps took us to the Carmelite Monastery where she entered at age fifteen. Later we saw the Basilica of St.Therese, the largest dedicated to any Saint in the world. This house of God towered over the little city which has been permeated with her great love for Jesus, her Eucharistic Love.
Following on Monday, we visited Chartres, a Basilica which is nearly one thousand years old. The height of the holy dwelling was reminiscent of many of Frances resplendent Churches. For they were built to great heights to remind the faithful that their prayers are rising to God in heaven, that they might always keep their eyes on Christ. Chartres is famous for its stained glass windows, which scatter brilliant rays of sunlight as they depict various scenes from Holy scripture, as well as different aspects of the Christian life.
The Opening Mass for World Youth Day was held on Tuesday in Paris at the base of the grand Eiffel tower, overlooking the Seine River. The theme for World Youth Day, "Master, where are you staying? Come and see," was read, along with Our Holy Father"s message to young people. Bishops of France spoke of St. Therese as a powerful missionary.
The next few days were spent in catechesis, and further discovery of the French saints. Each morning young people flocked to different sites to hear from a Bishop who spoke their native tongue. The English-speaking site heard from Archbishop George of Chicago, Illinois, as well as a Bishops from Ireland and Ghana. Wednesday we visited the shrine on Rue du Bac where St. Catherine Laboure lies incorrupt. Her face shone through the glass case and her hands were folded as if in prayer. The chair which Catherine sat in when Our Lady appeared to her was also there. St. Catherine received the Miraculous Medal from Our Lady soon after the Church declared the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Visiting this shrine brought to life the novena that many of our diocesan parishes pray to Our Lady of the Miraculous medal.
Friday we visited Le Sacre Coeur, The Sacred Heart. The revelation of the Sacred Heart was given to St. Margaret Mary by Jesus Himself. Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament - The Living Sacred Heart - has taken place there since the early 1900"s. The monstrance holding Jesus was captivating, as are many of the monstrances in France. They stand glorious and majestic, surrounded by candles, enthroning our Eucharistic Lord. Perhaps it is due to the devotion of the French to Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament that France is called the heartbeat of Europe.
Saturday we visited Notre Dame, the breathtaking Basilica dedicated to Our Lady. Various images were seen there such as Our Lady holding her crucified Son, the Virgin of Guadalupe, and many sculptures of the lives of Jesus and Mary. Following our visit to Notre Dame, we made our way to the evening vigil at Longchamps with the Holy Father. According to the French volunteers at World Youth Day, 1.3 million people were present for the vigil. This was astonishing as only 200,000 had been expected. Many young people, myself included, walked several miles to reach the cite in ninety-four degree weather. Yet the longing for unwavering truth drew us to the grounds where over one-hundred and thirty five acres were covered by the faithful.
The Pope rode by in his mobile waving to the throngs with an enthusiasm and a smile that was contagious. His love for the young people and the Church he shepherds was seen most powerfully. My group was able to see him from about twenty feet away. After the welcome, His Holiness baptized many new members into the Church.
At the closing Mass on Sunday, Pope John Paul II spoke of the message of World Youth Day. Where do we come? Where do we see? He said the answer is "sacramental." For we come and see Jesus in the Eucharist. Encouraging the now over 1.5 million young people, he challenged us to "rebuild" the Church with "the Eucharist." For with the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus as our center and foundation, we cannot fail.
The most moving and inspiring moment for me, however, came following the Mass. For Pope John Paul II declared that St. Therese, my patroness and spiritual mother, will be proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on October 19, Mission Sunday, at St. Peter"s in Rome. Saint Therese, patron of missionaries, longed to be Christ"s Bride and proclaim His Love throughout the world. Her heroic life has reached the world, although she never set foot out of her Carmelite Monastery in Lisieux. St. Therese is a Missionary of prayer, which is the greatest and most powerful action, as it changes hearts and saves souls. It was her great love for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist that has led us to remember her today. For His Love shines through her to all the earth. Though she lived to be only twenty-four, her message has touched the hearts of people on every continent.
The message of World Youth Day, like St. Therese, is beautiful and powerful, yet simple. Come and See - Stay. Archbishop George of Chicago explained with conviction, "The Church gathers around the Eucharist." We are called to come and see the True Presence of Jesus today. His Excellency Archbishop George also proclaimed the need for lay evangelists, saying, "if we are not afraid to be with Him, we should not be afraid to bring others to Him." He said, "we cannot have Jesus without the Church." Our Holy Father"s message was the same, as his words resounded "Be not afraid." For, "Jesus lives among us in the Eucharist, the supreme fulfillment of His Real Presence, a Presence that is contemporary with the history of humankind. Amidst the uncertainties and distractions of daily life, imitate the disciples on their way to Emmaus...Call out to Jesus to remain with you always along the many roads to Emmaus of our time. May He be your strength, your point of reference, your enduring hope. May the Eucharistic Bread, dear young people, never be lacking on the tables of your existence. And may you draw from this Bread the strength to bear witness to the faith!"
Copyright 1997, M. Bracy. All rights reserved.
The Bread of the Strong
"... For everybody, Christ in the Eucharist is the true Bread to make them strong. It is the nourishment to make men heroic, to sustain martyrs, and to bring strength and peace to souls in their last agony.
" ... Fortitude and joy was given to St. Joan of Arc when she was allowed to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist before going to her execution at the stake. When Jesus entered her dark prison, the Saint fell on her knees, and, wearing her chains, received Jesus, and became absorbed in prayer. As soon as she was bidden to go forth to her death, she rose and made her journey without interrupting her prayer. She proceeded to the stake and died amid flames, ever in union with Jesus, Who remained in her soul and in that body which was sacrificed." (Jesus, Our Eucharistic Love, by Fr. Stephano Manelli, O. F. M.)
St. Therese of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church
Missionary of Eucharistic Love
"The good God does not need years to accomplish His work of love in a soul; one ray from His Heart can, in an instant, make His flower bloom for eternity," wrote St. Therese, The Little Flower, who died at the tender age of 24.
On October 19, Mission Sunday, His Holiness Pope John Paul II proclaimed St. Therese a Doctor of the the Church at St. Peter"s in Rome. When he made this announcement at World Youth Day in Paris young people, myself included, were wild with excitement. This "Petite Fleur" of God"s love has captured the hearts and souls of millions of people throughout Europe and the entire world.
Marie-Francoise Therese Martin was born on January 2, 1873 in Alencon, France. Her love for Jesus and the 'little way' began at a very young age. "Because I am little and weak," she wrote, "Jesus stooped down to me and tenderly instructed me in the secrets of His love." The city of Lisieux, where Therese spent most of her life, is vibrant with signs of her "roses" and love today. Upon my pilgrimage to France this August, I was blessed to walk in her footsteps.
Journeying first to the parish to which St. Therese belonged, we traced her pathway down the aisle where she received Jesus for the first time. Her First Communion far surpassed all of her hopes and dreams, for in her own words it was "the first kiss" upon her soul and a "fusion" of love. It is also here where Therese made her First Confession. As the priest gave her absolution Therese reflected that "the tears of Jesus" purified her soul.
We traveled onward to the Carmel where St. Therese lived the latter part of her life. Among the many "glimpses" of Therese was a beautiful stained glass window. Gazing into the picture of Therese imploring the Pope to allow her to enter the Carmel, I was reminded of her vocation story. On Christmas when Therese was 15, she received her call. Determined to marry Jesus and spend her life for Him, Therese went to the Priest (who was the General of the order) and asked him to let her enter. He refused, saying that she was too young and the life was too hard. Therese went to the Bishop who echoed the General"s response, telling her that she must wait. Therese, gifted with importunity, took a pilgrimage to Rome to ask the Holy Father himself. As the window depicts, the young 15 year old Saint knelt down and clutched his white cloak pleading, "Please Holy Father permit me to enter the Carmel!" To which he responded that if it was God"s will she would. The following spring St.Therese entered the convent, and her journey as a young fiancee of Jesus began.
Above all we entered into the spirituality of this young Saint. St. Therese wanted all souls to love Jesus with all of their love, to give themselves to Him with total abandonment, and to become love. She wrote so powerfully that it is through the Eucharist that we become Love. In her joy she went to Jesus in the Eucharist, "I loved above all the processions in honor of the Blessed Sacrament. What a joy it was for me to throw flowers beneath the feet of God! Before allowing them to fall to the ground, I threw them as high as I could and I was never so happy as when I saw my roses touch the sacred monstrance." In her sorrow she went to Jesus in the Eucharist, "No one paid any attention to me, and I would go up to the choir of the chapel and remain before the Blessed Sacrament until Papa came to get me. This was my only consolation, for was not Jesus my only friend?"
Though St. Therese lived to be only 24, and never left the Carmel, she is the patroness of Missionaries. Her prayers were instrumental in bringing the Gospel of Jesus to all four corners of the world. As she wrote, "I would travel the whole earth to preach Your name O Jesus, and plant Your glorious cross on pagan lands! But one mission would not be enough, I want to proclaim the Gospel on all five continents and on the most remote islands." It was through her prayers before her Spouse Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, that Therese was able to journey and evangelize millions of people throughout the world.
Her mission continues. As a requirement of becoming a Doctor of the Church, a Saint's life and teachings must persevere through time. Watching millions of young people pave the streets of Lisieux and earnestly flood her convent, provided me with a vivid picture of her continued mission. Young people from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Americas proudly wore her image and carried posters of this great Saint. Surely, her love continues to spread to all people everywhere through the story and message of her life.
"My mission, to make God loved, will begin after my death. From heaven I will let fall a shower of roses," wrote St. Therese in her autobiography "The Story of A Soul." This young woman was also a powerful poet, a beautiful artist, and above all a spiritual mother. For as she wrote, "Our mission, as Carmelites, is to form evangelical workers who will save millions of souls of whom we are the mothers." Through efforts of her prayers and pen many young missionaries, seminarians, and priests were touched through her inspiring words. The roses of love held by St. Therese are souls, which she leads to Jesus. As in the processions she loved, she took great care to make sure that all of her souls would be led to her Spouse"s Eucharistic Love.
St. Therese realized that her mission was love - to make God loved both in time and in eternity. She wrote, "By our little acts of charity practiced in the shade we convert souls far away, we help missionaries, we win for them abundant alms; and by that means build actual dwellings spiritual and material for our Eucharistic Lord." The love of Therese"s life was Jesus Eucharistic, and her mission today remains to bring souls to Him. For, "It is not to remain in a golden ciborium that He comes down each day from Heaven, but to find another Heaven, the Heaven of our soul in which He takes delight."
St. Therese is the patroness of the Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament. Her mission to "make God loved" is the mission of this apostolate. Through Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, Jesus is being made loved by millions of souls in countries throughout the world. With her powerful prayers of intercession St.Therese is aiding in the greatest evangelization and work of all time. "I should like to be a missionary from the beginning to the end of time; not in one part of the earth only, but in all parts of the world," wrote Therese. Like St.Therese, the Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament come before Jesus today, before Him Who is the Source and Summit of all Life and Love. With St. Therese we come before Him in the Most Blessed Sacrament receiving the apostolic zeal to save souls and leading souls to His Eucharistic Love. Her vocation as a Missionary of Eucharistic Love, continues as she intercedes for us as we "make God loved" through establishing Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration throughout the world.
As children of Therese, we are invited to proclaim with her that our "vocation is love!" The Love of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament transformed the life of this young woman, and caused her spirit to soar to great heights. It is because of her unfailing love for Jesus in the Eucharist that she is remembered today. As we celebrate the centenary of her death this year let us imitate her in her "mission of love" that Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament may be received, adored and made known throughout the earth. As Therese wrote: "I feel that my mission is soon to begin: to make others love God as I love Him, to teach souls my little way... I will spend my Heaven doing good upon the earth... No, there cannot be any rest for me till the end of the world." Please pray for the Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament as they work to make Jesus loved through the spread of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration throughout the world. St. Therese of Lisieux, Missionary of Eucharistic Love, pray for us - shower your roses! Copyright 1997, M. Bracy. All rights reserved.
More Youth Saints and Heroes of the
Eucharist Coming soon!
"Oh gaze of Love so melt my pride
That I may in Your house but kneel
And in my brokenness to cry
Spring worship unto Thee..."
– From "Hymn" by Jars of Clay
A Youth's Offering
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I offer You my youth, vibrant, strong and capable of so much good, so long as I am mindful that in all its beauty it belongs entirely to You. I offer You my thoughts, the blueprint of my future actions, that they will envision all things only in relation to You; my words, with the hope that they will draw other youth a little closer to You and never be the cause of my turning their gaze from You; my actions, that they may always be a symphony of purity, goodness and charity, of which You, my God, will be justly proud.
Keep my youthful body nestled within Your Sacred Heart and may the Divine Blood of Your own Heart course through my veins by the frequent reception of Holy Communion.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Hail Mary, full of grace! the Lord is with Thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into Heaven, sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.