Friday, August 12, 2011

Bishop Soto Blog on WYD & Our Times

An apostle and friend to youth and youth adults, Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, California, blogs about World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid.

This caught my eye from His Excellency's post:

"Living the faith is very challenging in these times. Particularly for young people in California, there is a sense of pervading cultural hostility to any public demonstration of faith. For the young men and women of Sacramento to have an experience of the global Church and to know that they are not alone will be an unforgettable life-changing experience."

Yes, these are really challenging times.  These are challenging times unlike decades past, for both society and the Church.

Between 1991-2001, for example, the pre-9/11 & post-Soviet and post-First Gulf War world saw a decade of a world relatively not at war and an American economy that was relatively strong.  Bl. JP2 the Great ushered the pilgrim people in to the Third Millennium and, with respected moral authority, also set his eyes on the morally-crumbling West.  The times were not as challenging as they are today.

Yes, our post-9/11 world is different than the past, especially for a society foreign to terror within its borders.  And it is most especially different for a Church whose image today takes on a Woman in labor about to give birth.  Amidst tribulation and the humiliating purification she is experiencing today, the eyes of faith tell us she is given two wings of a great eagle as a sign of Providence's care for her.

The Woman gives birth to new children.  As the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) found in 2010, the Catholic Church in the U.S. is growing.

But even in the U.S. where 1 out of 4 are baptized Catholic, and particularly in California where it is estimated that 1 out of 3 are Catholic, it is odd that we nevertheless have a pervading cultural hostility towards public faith.

Yup, even in America, the land of the free, where you think it ain't gonna happen.

In the Golden State, particularly, this growing "anti-Eureka!" ("I have not found It!") hostility to the faith sets the trend for the rest of the nation.  As is said, so goes California, so goes the rest of the Nation...

And speaking of an anti, so goes another anti...

Cardinal Henri de Lubac, S.J., noticed in The Drama of Atheistic Humanism (1944) that there's a world of difference between a-theism and anti-theism.  Whereas atheism simply denies God's existence, anti-theism is a step further in its blatant militant opposition to God and deliberately seeks to oppose Him.  The Red Jesuit's chilling insight prophecizes what looms even further on the horizon and the task that lay ahead in the New Evangelization.

Henri Cardinal de Lubac, S.J.

And so, beautiful people, enter WYD.

While we need to smell this cultural coffee that's brewing for you and me to drink, let's also smell the fragrant rose that is World Youth Day.

Can I get a....

"Eureka!" ....?

....uhh, I mean, an "Amen!"?

People who believe in God are not alone, as the young shepherd who hails from the land of oranges and angels said.

Having attended WYD in Denver (1993) and Toronto (2002) myself, I too have felt this unforgettable life-changing experience.  

I remember WYD Denver like it was yesterday!  And Toronto seemed like it just happened a few hours ago.  The energy is incredible year hence.

And even though I'm not flying to the land which brought the Cross to my own land of birth in the Philippines, I still feel the energetic excitement.

I feel the excitement in my friends who are there.  I'm there with them united through the Eucharist as I remain geographically afar from them in a diocese named after the Blessed Sacrament.  Even thousands of miles away, I give back to Spain, beset with secularism, what it first gave my Island forefathers.  I send back to Spain young missionaries by supporting the youth and young adults who are there on my behalf.

Two of them are seminarians, one for San Francisco and the other for Sacramento.  Read Br. J.R. Jaldon's post here and Br. Raj Derivera's here.

I'm excited for the rumor of the new Doctor of the Church.  He'll be Number 34 on the Doctor Docket List.

I'm excited for what the Pope of Christian Unity will say.

This Glory of the Olives will plant an olive tree for the WYD theme, "Planted and Built Up in Jesus Christ Planted in the Faith," which comes from St. Paul.

I'm excited for the youth who'll be there.  These apostles will continue the Faith for which I've given my life, even after I'm long gone from this life.

I'm excited for what the intellectual B16's gonna say to the 1,200 young university professors all under age 40.

I'm excited to see its fruits now and some day and pray, like Simeon, to see with my own eyes the wonders that will happen.

About 450,000 are registered, although WYD planners are projecting 1.5 million participants, including 800 bishops and 6,000 seminarians studying for the holy priesthood.

With all this excitement in the air, I dedicate this John Mayer song to the 266th Successor of St. Peter: "Say What You Need to Say".

Say what you need to say, my dear Papa Benny!

So rock on with the Rock of Peter, Mystical Body of Christ, and Viva il Papa! Ad gentes...until all are one in Christ!

Homework: Check out the official theme songs for all World Youth Days here!



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