The jubilee 30th Youth Festival began with the Holy Mass celebrated by Cardinal Angelo de Donatis, General Vicar of Rome, with 620 Archbishops, bishops and priests concelebrating. Dozens of thousands of youth were gathered here and there were 1.747.100 live-stream viewers all over the world, never as many as on this day.
Cardinal De Donatis said in the beginning how he was “grateful to God and to each of you for the invitation to be the main celebrant of the opening Holy Mass of the 30th Youth Festival. I am bringing you the warm greetings and blessings of the Holy Father.”
Surely, for you to be able to hear the invitation “Follow me”, that Jesus gives us, it is necessary for the Holy Spirit to open our hearts and fill them with Divine wisdom. The Gospel today brings us the scribe of the New Testament, wise man in the Gospel, and there are three instructions to be taken from this: Kingdom of Heaven, as we heard is like the dragnet that is cast in the sea and brings in a haul all kinds of fish. When it is full, the fishermen bring it ashore, then sitting down, they collect the good fish in baskets and throw away those that are no use. The second instruction is when Jesus speaks about the judgment, we cannot deny this truth we profess every Sunday in the Creed – “he will come to judge the living and the dead.” The third instruction is that the Gospel teaches us that the scribe, who becomes a disciple of the Kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom new things as well as old“. This is the beautiful expression that can be interpreted like this: genuine wise man is the one who lives the old things that always provide us with new joy and new things that have the flavour of the old.
Beloved, let us take those three pearls pulled out of the seashell of today’s Gospel: to cleanse our mind, to ensure fair God’s judgment over us by living the truth, to become new people that lay their roots in the tradition of the holy people of God. Dear youth, may the Holy Spirit make you wise, just like he made the Mother of God, who pondered and reflected on all those things in her heart, and just like he made St. Alphonsus Liguori, who in the 17th century wisely evangelised his co-citizens in Naples. Father, send your Holy Spirit and renew our hearts in the image of Your Son Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, said Cardinal De Donatis at the end of His homily.
The presentation of all 80 countries, participants of this Youth Festival, took place a little before the Holy Mass and one hour before, the press conference was held when Archbishop Henryk Hoser and Medjugorje parish priest, Fr. Marinko Sakota spoke to the journalists and answered some of their questions regarding this event.
Of course, we are all in the dynamics of the new evangelisation. Personally, I am assured that Medjugorje is offering us a new model of the new evangelisation. Medjugorje is not under the direct care of the Council for the New Evangelisation, but under the care of the Secretary of the State. This May, the new statement of the Holy See was published allowing the official pilgrimages to this parish on behalf of the parishes, dioceses, bishops and cardinals so they could all be participants of these celebrations, as we witness that right now, meaning that the Holy Father opened the great doors for the entrance in Medjugorje, said Mons, Hoser.
Fr. Marinko referred to the programme of this year’s Youth Festival, as well as to all that took place in the past three decades. The message of the Youth Festival is in the theme chosen this year – “Follow me”. There is a desire in every person, in every man, desire for peace and for the truth. Jesus says to us – Follow me. These young people find that desire for Jesus, for peace right here, said Fr. Marinko.
At the end of the press conference, Croatian Post Mostar presented the new stamp on the occasion of this year’s 30th Youth Festival and Sale Director, Josip Bulic, presented it to the Archbishop Henryk Hoser and Fr. Marinko Sakota. (PHOTO)