WYD: Sweet Sisters, Magnificent Papa & Wrap

I just love this:

At the end of [The Pope’s] meeting with some 1,600 young religious women — most under 35 — he intoned the Lord’s Prayer in Latin and the sisters joined in. The pope and his aides — all men — usually lead the singing when the pope is with a large group, but the papal aides drew back quickly and the pope lowered his volume, letting the sisters’ fill the courtyard with their voices.

Go here to listen. It’s just lovely.

Did anyone else think, as I did, that the pope looked happier and more relaxed at this World Youth Day than ever before? I think our introverted little professor pope is starting to enjoy these large gatherings. He looked healthy and spry and very happy! And he was so warm with these young people — very much a father, or grandfather, a papa! He was interested in them, engaged with them, and his message was a challenge to go deeper into the life of faith, therein to find joy, and the great freedom that comes from an authentic “yes” to God. I really liked his homily at the closing mass:

Dear young friends, as the Successor of Peter, let me urge you to strengthen this faith which has been handed down to us from the time of the Apostles. Make Christ, the Son of God, the centre of your life. [. . .] Friendship with Jesus will also lead you to bear witness to the faith wherever you are, even when it meets with rejection or indifference. We cannot encounter Christ and not want to make him known to others. So do not keep Christ to yourselves! . . .You too have been given the extraordinary task of being disciples and missionaries of Christ in other lands and countries filled with young people who are looking for something greater and, because their heart tells them that more authentic values do exist, they do not let themselves be seduced by the empty promises of a lifestyle which has no room for God.

It was striking to see how intently they listened as he spoke. And some of them got a taste of the challenge, too

Tim Muldoon, who was at Madrid with his students, writes a brilliant, must-read piece on the gathering, and that challenge:

Of course there are those frightening images of the sons of the masters of suspicion, shrieking to throngs compelled by the greater forces of the Gestapo, the Party, or the tyranny of their own unreflective lusts. Yet no one, even today, can theorize his way into the hearts of young people the way that the Vicar of Christ can. What the armchair cynic does not realize is that in this communication age you can fool people only so long, but the often broken, deeply sinful, pilgrim church is still rooted in something deep and true and lasting. It’s really not about the pope; it’s about the fact that the pope is a symbol of the reality that Jesus changes people’s lives for the better.

You’ll want to read the whole excellent thing, and send it around. The title is Masters of Suspicion and a Million-Soul Mass.

Millions of folk, but the press, typically didn’t notice a thing

More on World Youth Day:If only more people knew they could find healing in confession

Proclaiming yourself a Catholic
in Communist China.

More here

And they closed WYD with this, Non nobis, Domine — how stirring!

Non nobis, non nobis, Domine
Sed nomini tuo da gloriam.

Not to us, not to us, O Lord,
But to your name give glory.

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