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Our Faith Is Young

Early last Saturday morning some 400 young people who are involved in the Jornada movement in our Diocese gathered at the Church of the Transfiguration, Williamsburg, to begin a caminata – or penitential pilgrimage – to several churches in Brooklyn and Queens. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio addressed and blessed them before they begin their 7.5 mile walk with adult leaders and members of the clergy, praying, dancing and singing songs of faith along the way. In front of each of the station churches (All Saints, Most Holy Trinity, St. Joseph Patron, St. John the Baptist, Our Lady of Good Counsel, St. Barbara, St. Brigid and St. Matthias), they were greeted by the pastor and performed a brief skit as a form of catechesis to illustrate a valuable lesson from the Gospel. The tone of the march was sacrificial; the theme was to promote justice through witness to Christ. No one was permitted to take any food or drink throughout the journey, only water, and the atmosphere of joyful prayer clearly inspired residents along the way, many of whom joined in from their doorsteps or apartment windows – and even for part of the journey – as the group made their way along on that crisp and sunny morning. The seeds of the Jornada movement grows from lessons and experiences planted during a weekend retreat in which those who are called enter into a deeper personal relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church. As with other ecclesial movements such as the Cursillo, which it closely parallels, Jovenes de Valor and Marriage Encounter, the Jornada enriches our parishes and diocese through the personal spiritual bonds that are encouraged among participants and the Catholic leadership that is fostered. We are proud of the exemplary way in which our young people are responding to the call of the Holy Spirit to walk the walk of faith with such public witness to our risen Savior. We strongly encourage the pastoral leadership of every parish in our diocese to support this wonderful way of nurturing the seed planted in all believers at baptism. What an opportune time to extend the blessings of the Easter season by welcoming all our young people to become active in a local group so dedicated to youth evangelizing youth such as the Jornada.

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Divine Mercy Sunday

One of the ironies of salvation history is the paradox of how our God-given freedom renders God dependent on us. God, as it were, must sacrifice his freedom in order to restore ours. This seems, at first, to be a contradiction. Jesus told us that “without me, you can do nothing.” And yet, God can accomplish nothing in us unless we, as Mother Theresa of Calcutta had urged, “give God permission” to come into our lives and let Him do His saving work. How else can God heal the broken promise of humanity except through divine mercy? The history of our helplessness has been the abuse of freedom, our self-enslavement through sin, both personal and “social.” God can only break its spell when we have acknowledged our sin and the sinful structures or relationships we support or tolerate. Love cannot be forced. In order to set us free again, God must somehow persuade us that He loves us and invite us, again and again, to love Him. As long as we have breath of life in us, God continues to extend his mercy. How costly this has been to Him as the passion and death of Jesus Christ reminds us again and again. This Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday and we pray that all minds and hearts will be open to accept the free gift of God’s mercifully healing, forgiving and redeeming love.

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