.- Cardinal Francis George of Chicago has challenged World Youth Day pilgrims to respond to the initiative that God has already taken in their life.
“I want to tell young people that faith is a response to God’s initiative and that his initiative in creation and in history culminates in Jesus Christ who give us a name that enables us to enter into friendship with God,” Cardinal George told CNA during a morning catechesis session for English-speaking pilgrims on Aug. 17.
“And I want to tell them they should figure out their response in their own life – a response to evil, a response to the challenge of mission,” he added.
Cardinal George addressed over 1,000 youngsters at the Church of St. Teresa and St. Joseph in central Madrid’s Plaza de Espana. With all the pews taken, pilgrims found whatever space they could on the church floor, balcony or even the street outside.
“I thought Cardinal George did a really great job. He was very inspiring,” said 24-year-old Carlie Collins from Melbourne, Australia, “talking about the use of a name in someone’s life and how important that is and the connection you get from it just because of their name was really interesting.”
“I think Cardinal George was very impressive,” said Fr. Jim Doyle, a young priest from County Wexford in Ireland.
“I liked the whole thing about the person and that God calls each of us individually and as a person -- so we’re not like anybody else and Jesus works within each person individually and has a special calling for everyone.”
Cardinal George’s also took questions from several young people before leading the congregation in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and then Mass.
At the same time, similar catechesis sessions were being hosted by bishops in churches all across Madrid.
“World Youth Day is always a wonderful experience,” concluded Cardinal George.
“It’s something I’ve tried to be part of ever since I’ve been a bishop. It’s always very rewarding to see the young people come together and reinforce each other’s faiths from very many parts of the world.”