At the threshold of World Youth Day and the meeting with Pope Francis, Perth pilgrims could not have received better words of encouragement than those recently spoken by Archbishop Costelloe at Our Lady of Mercy Parafia Rzymskokatolicka NMP Matki Miłosierdzia in Warsaw on Friday, 22 July.
During a special Holy Hour as part of a two-week pilgrimage to Poland for the 2016 World Youth Day, which began with a blessing of a fire and a candle procession inside the Church, the Archbishop made reference to the soon-to-be-exposed body of Christ and strongly encouraged pilgrims to enter into communion with Jesus ahead of World Youth Day.
“Our faith,” the Archbishop said “before it is about rules to follow or doctrines to believe or moral values to defend, is about a person, Jesus, who calls us to come to Him, especially when we are weary and overburdened, and allow Him to give us rest.”
The Archbishop reminded those present how St Pope John Paul II, who was of Polish origin, would often encourage the faithful to contemplate the face of Christ and stressed how important it was to be united with Christ in order to live wholesome, authentic lives in which we live as “our best selves”.
Tapping into that burning desire, often particularly alive in young people, to be authentic and to be real, Archbishop Costelloe invited the pilgrims to see Jesus Christ as the key to this authenticity. As someone who frees men and women from sin, from that which imprisons them, the Archbishop explained, He is the road through which one can truly be himself or herself.
“We see it all the time in the Gospels. There are so many stories in which Jesus reaches into the lives of people who, in one way or another, are anything but free, and brings them the gift of life.
“Sometimes, it is a freeing from physical suffering. A great example is the story of Jesus curing a man who was blind from birth. At other times, it is freedom from sin as when, for example, the woman washes the feet of Jesus with her tears and dries them with her hair. On that occasion, Jesus speaks of the great love the woman shows Him because her many sins had been forgiven.”
Referring to faith in God as much more than a simple following of rules or as an intellectual exercise, Archbishop Costelloe quoted St Paul who often spoke of “a faith which, at its heart, is an act of trust”.
“It is the kind of faith which characterises the Divine Mercy devotion, which was born here in Poland and which is expressed in the simple words which accompany every version of the image of Divine Mercy: Jesus, I trust in you. It is the same faith which we find in the story of Abraham.”
Inviting the pilgrims to ask for the gift of trusting faith and to take it to World Youth Day, the Archbishop suggested that all those present at the Adoration Mass repeat, “Jesus, I trust in you” in their minds as they contemplated the Blessed Sacrament.
Hundreds of young people from across Australia, 180 of whom are from Western Australia, are currently making their way to Krakow, Poland, for the largest Catholic youth gathering on record that is known as World Youth Day.
Archbishop Costelloe and Auxiliary Bishop Sproxton have joined a group of 35 young people from Perth in making the WYD journey, commencing their trip through Rome and Turin, before meeting another 45 pilgrims from Perth to continue on their pilgrimage in Warsaw, then to Krakow for the main event.
The Perth contingent has participated in what is called Days in the Dioceses, a pre-gathering event which sees young people engaging in charitable events.
Taking place in the week prior to the main WYD event, every diocese in the country hosts pilgrims in an effort to show pilgrims the richness of the local Church and welcome them through hospitality.
By Marco Ceccarelli
Source: Archdiocese of Perth