Young people attending the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin were invited by the Rt Rev. Mark Davies, the Bishop of Shrewsbury, to make a promise to be part of the Mass every Sunday of their lives.
The Bishop made his remarks in a “Youth Space” catechesis in the Irish capital on Monday 11 June 2012.
He reminded his audience that the Church had gathered on Sunday from its very beginnings and continued to do so even in times of persecution.
Bishop Davies said young people should not allow themselves to be put off Mass by such features as uninspiring music, a dull building or a sleepy congregation but should focus on the reality of Our Lord in the Eucharist instead.
Young people should also see Sunday as the glorious day of the week, the Bishop explained, a day in which space is made for other people and one in which people can wake up to the wonder of life and to the beauty of creation.
The International Eucharistic Congress, which runs from 10-17 June is expected to include as many as 80,000 participants from all over the world. The Youth Space events are able to cater for about 2,500 young people aged between 17 and 25 years.
Bishop Davies said: “Today I want to invite you at this Congress, as Pope Benedict invited the youth of the world seven years ago in Cologne, to make a promise in your own hearts: a promise to be part of Sunday Mass, a promise to be part of that great gathering of the Church each Sunday wherever your young lives will lead.”
He said: “What we come to each Sunday is a moment of recognition, when we recognise by faith, as we do this week, Christ our Lord. He is ‘wholly and entirely present’ with us in the Eucharist. This is why for 2,000 years, ‘the Sunday celebration of the Lord’s Day and His Eucharist is at the heart of the Church’s life.”
The Bishop continued: “We know for many of our ancestors getting to Mass involved risk and struggle. Indeed, our need to share in the Sacrifice and Sacrament of the Eucharist was very simply explained by St John Vianney who used to tirelessly remind those who came to church: ‘He is here, He is here, the One who loves us so much He is here!’.
“In this we know a great joy even if the music is uninspiring, the community sleepy, the building dull: it is the joy of recognising Christ in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. As Blessed John Paul II wrote, it is the same ‘joy experienced by the Apostles when they saw the Lord on the evening of Easter’.”
(from the Shrewsbury diocese website)