This past Tuesday was our Pope Party to celebrate the canonization of Pope's John XXIII and John Paul II. The end of the year, especially during May, its common to see a drop off in attendance at youth nights. That didn't happen last night. As many know I was blessed represent our parish and go on pilgrimage to celebrate the canonization Mass in Rome. Last week my wife Emily, daughter Gianna and I had the amazing opportunity to attend the canonization Mass. For Emily and I, the gift of the papacy and especially that of Pope John Paul II, has been one of the richest sources of grace, truth and love that we’ve received in our lives as young Catholics.
All we wanted to do was simply go and celebrate our spiritual Father Saint John Paul II in heaven in the heart of the Church at Rome. What we received was so much greater! I still don’t know quite how it happened, but during the Wednesday audience at St Peter’s square (which was packed all the way down the street!) Pope Francis stopped in the pope mobile, received our daughter Gianna, kissed her and blessed her! After receiving her back, he looked directly at me and blessed me! I felt such a joy from the Holy Spirit. In that moment, I could feel in a very strong way just how much the Holy Spirit is working through our Holy Father Pope Francis. Just a few days later Emily, Gianna and I were gathered with millions of other Catholics. The strength we felt and continue to exude as we recall this time of being together with SO MANY other Catholics was incredible. Why do I share this? What is God doing? Tuesday's Pope party was the first time that we've combined the junior and senior high groups for the presentation on the life of Pope John Paul II and the time of prayer and adoration afterward. It was also the first time we've had over 200 people together on a youth night! Even though there were teens from so many different schools and walks of life and even age groups, during adoration there was just a beautiful spirit of solidarity present. The witness of such a multitude gathered together in faith brought forth an amazing strengthening. The call to solidarity is a shared struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil and a shared seeking of the universal call to Holiness as a family of faith. This theme of solidarity was one of JPII's most potent calls for the Church in the modern world. As a CORE team, we saw the hand of God increasing a spirit of solidarity among our youth. Thank you Jesus! Pope John Paul II, pray for us.
Finally, be sure to check out the amazing short video on the life of Saint John Paul below.