Viewing footage of the celebration of World Youth Day in Panama, I was impressed by the number of young people coming from all corners of the world participating in what, to many of them, was the best experience in their lives. Imagine how proud I was to see Trinbago’s red, white and black right up there with other world flags flying high!
Sometime after that, I viewed one of the spiritual fillers on EWTN. It was highlighting a statement by St Padre Pio, which read, “One day we will all have to give a strict account of how we spend our time.”
The young people have an opportunity of a lifetime to experience the Universal Church with our earthly leader, Pope Francis, in a positive and powerful way. I question, on their return to their various countries, will this time spent be put to use? Will their homes, parishes, communities etc., benefit positively from their experiences?
I thought primarily of the Archdiocese of Port of Spain and the participants from the various clusters. Will we experience a thrust to facilitate the rekindling of the fire of our local Youth Ministries, ensuring that their time will assist in bearing fruit?
As reminded by St Padre Pio, time has been given to us by our Heavenly Father. How do we spend it? A common complaint is that for a lot of these participants, the journey is not viewed as a pilgrimage, but rather a vacation with the added bonus of seeing the pope.
So the fire that may have been lit through the euphoria of being in another country, meeting and making new friends, is quickly doused on their return. Their time now may not include working in the Lord’s vineyard to evangelise and encourage others to use their time working for the continued building up of the Body of Christ here on earth, the Church. According to their ages, the focus now may be studies, exams, jobs….
The youth were given time while in Panama to pose questions to the Holy Father and this they did, on many topical and worrisome issues. It is hoped that the information received will serve to encourage a more positive attitude towards ‘things Church’ and will also inspire and motivate more effort at giving of their time, treasures and talents to keep the Church alive and active in the world today.
Our young people have the potential to move things forward positively, to assist in working with other ministries in the Church so that the fire of service and stewardship would take on a renewed thrust to flame up and burn brightly in the hearts of our youth, drawing them closer to Christ Jesus.
I looked at the coverage of the closing Mass and saw the choir of young people sing lustily during the Mass. There was even present, a choir made up of young males. Beautiful!
While viewing, I prayed that there would be many from among those present who would experience hearing the ‘call’ of Almighty God to vocation, as priests or religious, as husbands and wives, and as consecrated lay people. Whatever the ‘call’, it is hoped that we would see many more answering!
And so, we the adults too, must look at how we spend this time given to us by Almighty God. The opportunities are many for those who just attend Mass to come on board, join the various ministries, and give of themselves, using their time to ensure that our churches are places of warmth, welcome, compassion and love, and providing the sanctuary we need to ensure our time with the Lord is well spent.