It's hard to believe that we're almost a week removed since World Youth Day in Sydney. All the hard work by staff over the past three years culminated in a successful and spectacular event Down Under.
The seeds have been planted and hopefully they will yield much fruit!
Pedro Guevara Mann, a producer familiar to many of S+L viewers, was asked about this idea of WYD yielding fruit when he appeared earlier this week on Winnipeg's Godtalk radio program (you can listen to that HERE
). Pedro spoke of the idea of pilgrims going home and not necessarily creating huge life altering social justic projects, but doing small things with much love.
A very good point.
We can get ourselves in a bit of a spiritual pickle if we think that we have to be a St. Paul or a Padre Pio, or a Mother Teresa. Some men and women are called to be 'larger than life' saints, but many of us are called to sanctity in small, simple, ways, in our everyday lives. An event like WYD can help us see that there are many roads to holiness, and can encourage each and everyone of us in our unique vocations.
If you listen to Pedro's excellent interview, after he has said goodbye one of the hosts shares that WYD doesn't mean anything to him, that it's one big party, it's a waste of time and money, and the pilgrims would be better off using their resources in some kind of a service project. It's an opinion that a lot of people share. But for many pilgrims, for thousands, WYD is a life changing experience.
For me personally World Youth Day in Toronto was a rebirth of my faith -- it was a time of grace that forever changed my life. It certainly helped to revive my spiritual life which had slowly become choked... paralyzed -- it was as if someone gave me a spiritual transfusion, and suddenly, through grace, through the sacraments, my vital signs had returned! I suspect that many people have had similar experiences. Yes, WYD may not be churning out hundreds of thousands of Mother Teresas and Padre Pios, but it's churning out thousands of Pedros and Matthews, faith filled individuals who are witnessing to the world around them in their simple lives.
In Toronto I saw that the Church was alive, that young people loved their faith and wanted to love God and His Church. It wasn't so much a party, as it was a celebration -- a celebration of being Catholic, a celebration to praise a loving and merciful God! Particularly in times that seem so confusing and dark, I think it's important for people to experience that -- that they see the joy of their faith, and the joy and hope found within our faith!
As we celebrate the sixth anniversary this week of WYD in Toronto, I'm forever thankful for those events from July 23rd-28th 2002. I may not have become a St. Paul, or even a St. Vincent DePaul, but I became more of who God wants me to be and who He has created me to be.
WYD02 Photo courtesy of the CCCB