Thursday, March 18, 2010


Today as part of our annual Religious Education Congress in Anaheim, CA we had 15,000 young Catholics gather for a day of reflection, prayer, workshops, and sharing.

There is nothing as encouraging for our Church than to see such dynamic faith being expressed in the lives of these terrific young men and women. Most came as members of parish youth groups, and many wore distinctive t-shirts with all kinds of Christian messages emblazoned on them.

At the Mass in the Arena, two young people gave personal testimony about how God has guided them through difficult family situations at home. Both Samantha and Daniel spoke about the difficulties they had growing up with various tensions and rifts within their families. But they also shared the great power of God's love and grace working through those problems, and how their faith in God's love and mercy helped them through the years. Really inspiring!!

Our seminarians from St. John's Seminary put on workshops about vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and the seminarians shared their own journeys and stories--how God led them to seek a life of service as a priest. At the end of our Mass I asked those young men present who felt that maybe Jesus was calling them to consider serving as a priest to stand--and there was an overwhelming number who stood. And to the great roar of applause by thousands of their peers. We concluded Mass with everyone praying the prayer for priestly vocations.

All Catholics should be both encouraged and hopeful about our Catholic young people and their awesome role in our Church now, and as great leaders in the coming years. With them, Jesus Christ is front and center in their lives and they aren't afraid to shout that "good news" out loud for all to hear!