If we look at the average mass attendance figures for young adults in the Catholic Church, about 10-20% of young adults are attending mass on a regular basis. So if you are attending mass and are also committed to going to WYD11, that puts you in the most committed group of Catholics within your age group. Whilst this can be a little overwhelming at times when put into perspective it can present a great opportunity to help others.
It is important to remember that your personal perspective in not that of most other Catholic's or other young adults. You see the world and the Church in a different way, as Bishop David says, you have a unique Catholic world view. You see the world around you through the lens of the Catholic faith you believe in. As you prepare for the WYD pilgrimage perhaps God has blessed you with this Catholic world view so that you can be a light to the world. When you get an understanding of your personal perspective on life, you know how different you are to others and how you can help others.
Here are three things to keep in mind when preparing for the WYD11 pilgrimage:
- Evangelise the message not the event - sometimes we can be so consumed with our excitement about going to WYD we forget that others don't care about WYD. Rather than trying to get them excited by the actual event, share the message of WYD with them. The theme of WYD is a wonderful evangelisation opportunity that everyone can join in on even if they aren't heading to Spain. Perhaps God has blessed you with your personal perspective to strengthen you for these evangelisation opportunities. For more check out this earlier post here
- Go back to the beginning yourself - sometimes we need to take a break from our perspective on life and the Church to see things from other peoples perspective. Perhaps you need to think like someone who is beginning their walk with God so that you can understand how to support your friends who are starting off their walk with God. One practical strategy to imagine how you would describe WYD to someone who has never heard of it. There are people out there, even in your friendship group, who don't understand the church language you use, words like Catechesis, Cardinal and Adoration.
- Pray for people to know Christ - some people will never understand why you are going to spend $6000 to fly half way across the world to stand in 40 degree heat with 2 million others. Rather than trying to change their minds simply pray that God may open their heart to a deeper relationship with Christ. Whilst it would be nice for every young adult to experience WYD we know that can't happen, but every young adult can experience God's love. One practical idea is to write the names of five people who don't have a relationship with Christ on a prayer card that you carry with you to WYD.