With Mass this evening at the Cathedral, the 17 day pilgrimage begins for 83 young people and chaperones from the Diocese of Cheyenne to journey to Spain for World Youth Day, 2011. The pilgrims were reminded that even though the event will culminate with a Mass with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, it is Jesus Christ they seek.
The young people began gathering around 5:00 at Hartman Hall for a meal at the Cathedral. Many of the young travelers were nervous, as this is their first journey outside the country. However, I think some of the parents were more nervous than their children! Either way, all were aware that something great lies ahead.
After the gang had a chance to eat and mingle, we gathered for a 7:30 Mass in the Cathedral. Here, we heard again in the readings this weekend the various acclamations of the presence of God in the midst of our human pilgrimage of faith. The Book of Kings sees an encounter between the prophet, Elija and God, present in the whisper of a breeze. St. Paul in the Book of Romans makes another acclamation that Jesus Christ is Lord, son of the People of Israel, and Son of the Living God. And finally, we hear from St. Peter himself one of his confessions of faith that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
The World Youth Day pilgrimage is all about the opportunity for many world youth to make this dicovery for themselves that Jesus Christ is Lord, the Son of the Living God. It is an opportunity for the Youth of the World to discover that Jesus is greater than anything this world has to offer, and as he controls the elements of Sea and Wind, so we are to discover that in Christ every human person finds that Something greater than his or herself that leads him or her beyond their own opinions and priorities to discover the Truth that guides all creation.
Let us pray for all those who begin their journey this week. Let us pray for all of humanity that is in this journey of faith to discover Christ, that all may come to this discovery and be able to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, the Son of the Living God!