I know it’s Monday. Because of technical difficulties, the family is down to just one computer to share. How did we ever get by before the laptop and the second desktop?
With our country in serious trouble, the economy headed for even more trouble, and the almost unending string of news about the culture of darkness facing our children, it’s sometimes tough to feel hopeful. While my faith reminds me to hope and trust in God, a little bit of good news goes a long way to keep the spirits up.
After attending Mass in our new parish yesterday and over the past few weeks, I got a nice glimmer of hope about the future of the Church and the generation of young adults. A newly ordained priest, certainly not out of his 20s, celebrated Mass a few Sundays ago. He had grown up in the parish and entered the Legionaries of Christ, a religious congregation founded in 1948. I was moved nearly to tears by his humility and reverence. His passionate love for the Church and zeal in his mission to share the Gospel truly radiated from him. After hearing so much in the news about the evils of a very few priests along with experiencing the lukewarm attitudes of many parish priests, I was so thankful and heartened by the prospect of such faithful shepherds emerging in the Church.
Just this Sunday, the new youth minister in our parish introduced himself to the congregation. He is a fresh, new graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Not more than 22, he is a man confident in his faith and proud to proclaim it. He told a little of his own story as a young person caught up in modern culture of instant gratification and his ultimate embrace of his faith. His desire for the youth ministry is to help teenagers of the parish become young men and women of faith. Again, his love for the Church and passion for extending the kingdom of Christ was so apparent. And what a difference from the typical youth group which focuses mainly on “social justice” rather than encouraging one another in the faith.
I am a member of Generation X, but more importantly, I’m part of the JP II generation. We are Catholics formed by Pope John Paul II, who gave us World Youth Days, the Theology of the Body, the collapse of communism, and over 470 new saints. He encouraged us to open our hearts to Christ and taught unceasingly about the sanctity of life at all stages. Even though my generation has suffered through the mishmash of CCD and Catholic school curricula teaching nothing but “God Loves You” or “social justice” and neglecting education in Church teaching, we cling to the example and message of JP II. And many of this generation have opened their hearts to the call of Christ to serve His Church.
Finally, we are beginning to see the fruits of John Paul’s labors. Thanks be to God!