The Medjugorje Youth Festival is focused on prayer, with Mass, Eucharistic adoration, the Rosary, and a Marian procession. The week also includes religious lessons, testimonies, and a musical show.
“This event -- as the experience of so many says -- has the strength to set us on the path towards the Lord,” the pope said.
Cardinal Robert Sarah, the retired prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments celebrated the youth festival’s opening Mass Aug. 1. Earlier this month, Sarah underwent a robot-assisted prostate surgery in south Italy.
In his Aug. 1 homily, Cardinal Sarah said “we have come here, to Medjugorje, to renew our faith in Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, that is, to establish an authentic and vital relationship with Him, our Lord and our God, so that in prayer we can answer the crucial question: How to find Jesus and how to behave in His penetrating and sovereign Presence?”
“Many of our contemporaries, I would even say the multitude of people so close to us, in our families, among our friends, where we study and work, seem insensitive, indifferent, even opposed and hostile to the question of the existence of God; they even claim that they no longer think of faith at all and that it is a sign that they are free,” Sarah said.
The cardinal encouraged young people to remember their baptism and, as St. Paul says in Ephesians 4:24, “to put on a new man, created by God in righteousness and holiness of truth.”
“Today Christ the Lord calls us to look up; it is really important to remind modern consumers to eat to live, not to live to eat,” he said.
Cardinal Sarah said “Jesus, who knows the human heart, wants to respond to our deepest desires, to our most essential aspirations, to this hunger for Love and this thirst for the Absolute that torments us.”
The Eucharist, he continued, is “a remedy that allows us to leave the shore of our comfort and our false security, which is marked by relativism, and to cross to the shore of the Gospel of Truth and the Salvation of our souls.”
Hannah Brockhaus is Catholic News Agency's senior Rome correspondent. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and has a degree in English from Truman State University in Missouri.