HERE AND NOW: A Pastoral Statement on Youth by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, Autumn 1994

Coke Colstad, Old Saint Joe's out-going Parish Council Chair, was impressed that I used an image of one of our beautiful Innsbruck stained glass windows to illustrate my Trinity Sunday homily a few weeks back. She was doubly impressed that I also used a reference from a book for my homily; thus far, I've only quoted from, "Entertainment Weekly!" It's a tough crowd, folks!

Since that Sunday, many of you have asked for the reference that I quoted during Mass. I've loved much of what Cardinal Bernardin has written, taught and preached, especially during my seminarian days at the theologate nestled in the heart of the Archdiocese of Chicago. The reference I used is printed in the Liturgical Press'"Selected Works of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, Homilies and Teaching Documents." The Cardinal stated the following,

I remember hearing this message at the Youth Hearings -- it came through very loudly and very clearly. there was a great desire on the part of the people who participated in those hearings to be more involved in the life and ministry of the Church. But somehow, they felt this was not happening. The feel that the doors are physically open, but they don't feel that they really belong. And, as I listened, I think they feel that, in many instances, everything that is done in the Church -- is geared toward adults, older people, or very young children, and that teenagers -- those of you who are in the middle -- are somehow overlooked. People keep telling you, "You're the future of the Church," and so, the impression is given that you don't have to do anything right now. Well, that's not true, as you know. You're a part of the Church HERE AND NOW and you have a contribution to make. You've got responsibilities in the Church. But it is up to us, who are leaders in the Church, to make sure that the opportunities are presented to you, that you are invited to take part in the life and ministry of the Church."

Old Saint Joseph Church houses a very unique, gifted parish made up of all sorts of talented young people. You are a major aspect of what makes OSJ such a wonderful place. I thank you, our youth, for your presence and action at our liturgies. 1 Timothy 4 sums it up nicely,

"11Command and teach these things. 12Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

15Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers."

For all you do -- but most especially for all that you are, your fellow parishioners give thanks and praise to God!

Father James Baraniak, O. Praem.


Chana said...

Well said.

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