Sep 6, 2011
World Youth Day is a mighty experience, not just for those who came home in late August to tell us their stories, but for the whole Church. It gives us hope, and for good reason.
No secular event can draw as many teens as a World Youth Day. Often for a host nation, World Youth Day is one of the largest, if not the largest gathering in that nation’s history. No great battle, march or rock concert comes close to the magnitude of that massive gathering of joyful youths. That sends a loud message to a world that tries so hard to cling to the notion that faith is going out of style with young people.
World Youth Day shows the power of the Gospel to unite people from every corner of the world. Take a half-mile walk at World Youth Day and you’ll make friends with people from almost every continent on earth. While many pilgrimages are journeys to holy places, World Youth Days are journeys to the Catholic Church itself, where one can experience what “catholicity” is firsthand.
World Youth Day gives us a glimpse into the history of the Church. Almost every nation on earth has a presence there—a powerful reminder of the fact that the Church has been forging cultures and serving peoples in almost every corner of humanity for millennia. One teen reflected that “It helps to remind me that no other faith has ever impacted so many people for so long a time despite all of the accusations or whatever bad history might be tied in the history of the Church.”