Kathryn Jean Lopez: World Youth Day and Beyond

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor-at-large of National Review Online, and Director of Catholic Voices USA, has provided Breitbart News with commentary during World Youth Day (WYD) 2013. In addition, Lopez has connected Breitbart News with young members of Catholic Voices USA on the ground in Rio de Janeiro, so that readers can hear about their experiences firsthand.

Here in the United States, Lopez says she has watched “just about every public moment” of WYD 2013. She observes:

Pope Francis has been in Rio for the better part of the week but his precious time with the young people gathered on pilgrimage from throughout the world only began Thursday, and really began intensely on Friday, praying the Way of the Cross. His message to the young was consistent with his message to recovering addicts, the poverty-stricken, and his brother bishops: “Jesus, with his Cross, walks with us and takes upon himself our fears, our problems, and our sufferings, even those which are deepest and most painful.”

Lopez states that the theme of WYD – “Go and make disciples of all nations” – is "one of Gospel mandate; it’s not about increasing numbers as much as it is about sharing the Good News of Divine Mercy and eternal Trinitarian love.”

“You can’t share that,” Lopez says, “you can’t share it with others, if you don’t have it yourself. That’s what World Youth Day is about: prayer and Sacraments.”

Lopez sums up the course of WYD 2013:

And so there were Confessions, bishops from throughout the world offered catechetical sessions pilgrims were assigned to by language, and then with the Holy Father, there was a triduum of sorts, beginning with the prayerful Way of the Cross, a Saturday night prayer vigil, and Sunday morning Mass. There were already a million for the enthusiastic welcome Pope Francis was given by the young people on Copacabana beach, dubbed #Popacabana by some on Twitter, and by Saturday night there were three million, only to increase by the morning.

Watching Pope Francis make one of his final Popemobile trips through Rio, on his way to meet with WYD volunteers, Lopez says, “There’s a lot of gratitude here. As he pointed out to the bishops of Latin America on Sunday afternoon, in what is probably one of his most important addresses as pope, it’s on the parish level where renewal and conversion fundamentally happens.”

Lopez points to the millions of young pilgrims who participated in WYD.

“These young people are crucial to that mission, keeping the Holy Spirit ablaze in every family, parish, school, community, workplace…wherever they find themselves.”

Looking beyond WYD 2013, Lopez adds, “Those over three million this weekend are missionaries and going forth to do their work now, toward eternal life.”


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