by Michael Kelly
DUBLIN (CNS) – Young Catholics should be present on the web as witnesses to their peers who are searching for hope, said Auxiliary Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Brooklyn.
Addressing hundreds of young Irish Catholics and international pilgrims at the International Eucharistic Congress June 16, Bishop Caggiano said, “Your generation is the first to live comfortably in the virtual, electronic world.”
He said that “many people, especially young people, are searching in the electronic world for a word of hope in their troubles, a word of consolation in their fears, a word of welcome in their loneliness.”
He urged the young people to be “heralds of the Word of God in the electronic world and missionaries of Christ.”
The Youth Space where Bishop Caggiano spoke held parallel events during the eucharistic congress.
Bishop Caggiano, 53, was among a number of speakers who concentrated on the theme of youth and the new evangelization. He told the pilgrims that “since the word of God is meant to be heard by all people, our personal encounter with Christ impels us to bring his word to the whole world. This means that we are not simply listeners to God’s word, but its herald and witness.”
He said this witness “is never an easy challenge, because many times our actions do not match the words we profess in faith. For this reason, we must live lives of justice, peace, reconciliation and charity.
“Only in this way can we truly bear witness to what we have seen, heard and encountered in the Word of God,” he said.
He appealed to young Catholics to make time for prayer and silence in their daily lives.
“Coming from New York City, the city that never sleeps, silence is not easy for me either. Given the hectic pace of our lives and our ability to communicate electronically every minute of every day, silence can even be frightening. But God needs a place where he can talk to us in our hearts. If we are always busy, always talking, always moving, he will speak – but will we be listening?” he asked.
Bishop Caggiano told the young Catholics that he had “every confidence” that “like the great missionary saints who lived before us, you can and will bring many people to faith.”
Although only his second visit to Ireland, Bishop Caggiano has a special connection to the country because he is titular bishop of the ancient Irish diocese of Inis Cathaig in County Clare. During a 2009 visit to Ireland, he visited his titular diocese for the first time and saw the ancient monastic ruins that represent his titular see.