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National Celebration of World Youth Day 2015 [Free Resource]

National Celebration of World Youth Day 2015 [Free Resource]

Here's a photo of some of the WYD pilgrims from the Diocese of Brownsville with other pilgrims from Canada taken at the Heathrow Airport.With less than a year away to World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, the excitement and anticipation for this world gathering is mounting.  The recent Holy Father's apostolic visit to the U.S. has also revved up the excitement among the young Church.  

It was just last week I found photos of my first World Youth Day in August 2011 in Madrid.  I reminisced of the pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Madrid with the great group of people from the Diocese of Brownsville (TX). It was my first international travel overseas and I was really excited. The week prior to the World Youth Day was spent visiting the beautiful sites of Lisbon, Fatima, Porto, Santiago de Compostela, Avila and Toledo. During the week of World Youth Day, the city buzzed with excitement for all the celebrations and most especially the Holy Father’s visit.

Though long lines and cold cuts sometimes conjure up my memories of World Youth Day, it’s normally images of large crowds of excited people clamoring to see the Pope. It was undoubtedly a powerful experience of pilgrimage, prayer, and community.  It also provided a glimpse of how large and diverse the Church is.  It's with the same excitement that I look forward to heading out to Krakow next year and celebrating the national celebration of World Youth Day next month on October 25, 2015.

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Love is Our Mission – Let’s Gather to Celebrate and Grow! [Free Session Outline]

“In Jesus, we meet a God who reaches out to us, who creates communion and invites us to share in his joy. We are made in God’s image and called to communion with him and each other. This love gives purpose and shape to all aspects of human life, including the family.”

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An Urgent Request from Pope Francis: September 1 to be World Day of Prayer for Creation [Prayer Meditation with Youth]

An Urgent Request from Pope Francis: September 1 to be World Day of Prayer for Creation [Prayer Meditation with Youth]

As an artist, I am often inspired to try and imitate or reproduce the beauty I see in nature. With my paint brush, I can sweep colors of paint across a canvas to try and portray the splendor of a brilliant pink, yellow, orange, and purple sunset. Yet, try as I might, my paintings never fully capture the magnificence of the actual sunset. My artistic attempts cannot duplicate the real thing. It’s like traveling to a stunning location and wanting to freeze the moment in a photograph. A picture, even taken with the most expensive camera, still is not as satisfying as being at the location yourself. Of course this begs the question, does art imitate life or does life imitate art? For those who believe in a God of “All Creation,” the answer is always art imitates life. God is the original master or "artist" and humankind might try to replicate the original, but we cannot fully duplicate the master's handiwork. All the natural beauty and mystery that surround us is something we as humans cannot recreate. I can paint a sunset but I cannot originate one. But I can however, look upon a sunset with reverence and honor for the incredible gift of the fleeting beauty it offers. I can stand before a sunset and feel amazed in knowing that I am part of all that is God’s glorious creation. It is humbling to consider that the care of all this mystery and magnificence has been entrusted to us. Our vocation from God is to care for the very creation that inspires us.

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