My Dear Friends:
This coming Tuesday, August 1, World Youth Day festivities begin in Lisbon, Portugal as the youth of the world gather with Pope Francis to celebrate and grow in our faith. The theme for this year’s World Youth Day is “Mary arose and went with haste (Lk 1:39).” Obviously, this is from the end of the Annunciation story from St. Luke’s gospel where upon receiving the Word of God in her womb, Mary went in haste to the hill country to serve her cousin Elizabeth. Pope Francis wrote in his message inviting young people to this World Youth Day: “Mary arises and sets out, for she is certain that God’s plan is the best plan for her life. Mary becomes a temple of God, an image of the pilgrim Church, a Church that goes forth for service, a Church that brings the good news to all!” (Message for 37th World Youth Day 2022-2023)
There is an urgency which our young people, and all of us, to sharing the Word of God upon receiving it. Mary is the perfect model of evangelization because she brings the presence of Christ to St. Elizabeth and to all in her household. We must hasten as well to bring the Good News of the presence of Jesus to all around us, and we pray that the young people traveling to Lisbon this week will encounter the living Christ with the Successor of Peter and bring that Christ back to their home parishes.
We are honored that one of our young parishioners will be representing Little Flower in Lisbon. Monica Santamaria, a 12th grade student at Coral Gables High who is also an altar server and a young catechist, will be taking over our parish Instagram account this coming week as she shares the joy of participating in this grace-filled event. Be sure to follow her adventures on @cotlf, and pray for all the pilgrims headed to Portugal. Here in the Archdiocese of Miami, the young people who could not cross the pond will be celebrating WYD events throughout this week. You can see a schedule of these events here.
Pope Francis’ message to young people as he invited them to World Youth Day was simple: “My message for you, dear young people, the great message entrusted to the Church, is Jesus!” Monica is travelling to Lisbon to encounter Jesus. Youth from all over the world are gathering to share the joy of Jesus. The priests that are travelling as chaplains are going to bring the mercy Jesus. The Holy Father, even in poor health, is traveling to Portugal to bring the Good News of Jesus. The reason, and the only reason, they are all gathering in Lisbon is Jesus! The pope concludes his message by saying:
Dear young people, it is my dream that at World Youth Day you will be able to experience anew the joy of encountering God and our brothers and sisters. After a long period of social distancing and isolation, we will all rediscover in Lisbon – with God’s help – the joy of a fraternal embrace between peoples and generations, an embrace of reconciliation and peace, an embrace of new missionary fraternity! May the Holy Spirit kindle in your hearts a desire to “arise” and the joy of journeying together, in synodal fashion, leaving behind all false frontiers. Now is the time to arise! Like Mary, let us “arise and go in haste”. Let us carry Jesus within our hearts, and bring him to all those whom we meet! In this beautiful season of your lives, press ahead and do not postpone all the good that the Holy Spirit can accomplish in you! With affection, I bless your dreams and every step of your journey.
God bless you all,