It is mid Sunday evening. I’m feeling a bit weary. Early this afternoon I arrived back in the parish after a full and satisfying weekend spent leading the annual retreat for students of the University of Canterbury.
I do wish that parishioners of OLV could have journeyed with me over the past month. In this month I have seen the Church alive and vibrant and young. This was my experience at the Rimini meeting and at the Spiritual Exercises gathering of Communion & Liberation in the Italian alps. This weekend I had the same experience of a young and vibrant Church with local university students.
There is a sense among many parishioners in NZ, that younger people are not engaged with faith as fully as their grandparents. My experiences over the past month have reminded me that this is not the reality. Around the world young people are living lives of energetic faith. It has been a great encouragement for me to be reminded of this reality.
And another great encouragement for me this weekend has been the pope’s visit to the UK. News reports had led me to be a bit apprehensive over the past week. These media commentators had proclaimed that very few of the (free) tickets had been taken up and that very low attendances at the Masses and liturgies were expected.
But the media is now struggling to be negative about the pope’s presence in the United Kingdom. Three days into the four day visit huge crowds have turned out to hear Pope Benedict proclaim a message that is refreshing in front of a tired world. It is remarkable to see the media coverage of young people who are most enthusiastic about the Christ-centered message of hope proclaimed by the pope.