“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” Acts 2:41
It can be discouraging at times. The state of the world, terrorism, financial strains and so much pain. A quick glance around the internet reveals the popularity of celebrity for the sake of, well, just celebrity We witness phenomenons like the rise of books and movies such as, Fifty Shades of Grey, which glamorizes evil, abuse and lack of self-respect/restraint. Social networks are filled with young women posting selfies, scantily clad and with duck lips (what’s up with that?). But there is hope…
Last night our youth group held a praise and worship night. In a world of sports, video games and ‘something better to do,’ forty young people showed up for almost and hour and a half of Adoration. Their parents didn’t force them. They all expressed a willingness to be there. Our parish priest also offered confession at this time and around half the young people took advantage of the opportunity to obtain grace through that beautiful sacrament.
We offered teams of adults to pray with (or pray over) anyone feeling the need for such prayer and a few teens asked us to pray over them. Three of the teen girls lead the others in meditations and song. They truly called their peers into a deeper prayer experience. It was an incredible evening and it restored my hope.
While this event was taking place, our parish’s young adults group (18-35 year olds) were meeting in our lower level for friendship and fellowship. Their topic was examination of conscience and the Sacrament of Reconciliation (penance). Again, they wanted to be there.
I have been privileged to be a chaperone at Steubenville Youth Conferences and the Youth Rally Mass at the Washington, D.C. March for Life. When you witness tens of thousands of young people willing to give their time and energy to the Lord and His Church in this way, it cannot help but restore hope in the world and the Church!
The cold, dreary, long days of winter can make us feel like we are stuck in a permanent Lent; Making sacrifices and hoping for change. These glimpses into the young Church is our peek into Easter. As St. John Paul II the Great called it, “the new spring.” I think it might be right around the corner.
“Train the young in the way they should go; even when old, they will not swerve from it.”
Mary Lou Rosien BSW, MA is the RCIA Coordinator at St. Leo Church in Hilton, New York. She is the author of Managing Stress with the Help of Your Catholic Faith (OSV) and Catholic Family Boot Camp (Bezalel Books). Mary Lou is also a columnist with Catholicmom.com, and AmazingCatechists.com