And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him …(Mark 10:21a). This encounter between the rich young man and Jesus Christ repeats itself down the ages. Young people desire great things, bold endeavors, and “fighting the fight worth fighting.” The Church has the responsibility to be the loving gaze of Christ towards them, and to speak to them the words of eternal life.
From the beginning of our Religious Family, apostolate with teenagers and college students has held a privileged place in our work. Saint John Paul the Great taught us through his pontificate and the international World Youth Days that the Church in the modern world must come out to meet the next generation, not passively wonder why they come less and less to the Mass. (Learn about our IVE pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Krakow 2016!)
For, if young people are shown the love of Christ and His strength, then they will not be afraid to be holy, but rather they will rejoice to fulfill great missions of life and love as chaste young people preparing to become husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, priests and religious sisters. Let us love them in Christ’s love and be unafraid to speak the truth in love so that they grow into the full stature of Christ (cf. Eph. 4:13).
United States and Canada
Please pray for our XIV Youth Festival in Up-State New York taking place this weekend in Up-State New York. May the participants come to know and love Christ ever more and understand their true dignity and worth as children of God.
The first IVE youth festival was held in Argentina in 1997. The model of the youth festival was developed there: music, skits, talks, sports, Adoration vigils and opportunities for confession, and Marian procession with a closing Sunday Mass. This year the XVIII Youth Festival (Jornada de la Juventud) was also held in May following the theme of the Beatitudes “Blessed are the pure in heart” assigned by Pope Francis for 2015. A full gallery of images is available.
Missionary Youth Festivals: Central Asia
This year in our mission in Kazakhstan, our religious family celebrated a small-scale Youth Festival. In many ways all the more remarkable, for a country with so few Christians in such a remote region of the world!
In Brazil, the XIII Youth Festival (Jornada da Juventude) took place May 2 – 3. They also offer two a full galleries of the event (and the other one), and composed an original song for the event. (If your server has difficulty showing this YouTube video, you may need to temporarily disable safe mode since it is an international video which are sometimes not recognized.)
In Italy, our religious family celebrated the IX Youth Festival from May 9 – 10. The event concluded with the March for Life in Rome, the pro-life movement in Europe which is beginning to gain momentum and find strength in the hearts of the young. For where young people encounter the love, confidence, and joy of Christ, death has no power. (If your server has difficulty showing this YouTube video, you may need to temporarily disable safe mode since it is an international video which are sometimes not recognized.)
Northern Europe: the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Iceland and Ireland
Next weekend, the Province of Northern Europe is also hosting a Youth Gather in the Netherlands. Please pray for the fruits of this front-line mission in a highly secularized culture.
The Religious Family in the Philippines also hosted a youth festival this spring back in February on the theme of “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” For, from the Americas to Europe to Asia, the hearts of young people are the same, and so is Christ Himself, the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8).
May Our Lady of Youth accompany and protect all the young people whom we have the privilege of serving. Let us all journey so as to meet in the fullness of joy in Heaven one day. Viva la Virgen!