Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
‘Mercy Abounds’ at CYC 2016
by Brian Kraut, for the Inland Register
(From the March 17, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)
Nearly 400 gathered at Gonzaga Prep, Spokane, March 4-6 for the annual Catholic Youth Celebration, with the theme “MERCY: Recognize, Receive, Reveal.” There they encountered the abundant mercy of God.
Keynote speaker Mary Biel-ski, a Midwest woman living and studying in New Orleans, opened the hearts and minds of all in attendance through bold proclamation of the Gospel and heartfelt testimony.
She set the tone Friday evening by sharing the radical love God our Father has for all humanity. She opened her own story from her youth, in which she had made a poor choice that resulted in her father picking her up at the local police station. A quiet car ride ensued with an awkward walk to her room where her dad encountered her in the most merciful way. He asked her to go downstairs to get a drink of water, and while she stepped out he proceeded to paint with crimson red paint on her wall, “I love you Mary.” This moment defined how a parent’s love can’t be shaken, and that God’s love is even greater.
Maybe one of the quotes hung on the wall at Prep captured this moment best. St. Augustine said, “Every Saint has a past, and ever sinner has a future.” Futures were brightened through reconciliation and prayer Friday night.
Participants awoke to rain Saturday morning, like mercy pouring down from heaven, and mercy certainly continued to pour. If tears were a visible sign of God’s mercy, it never quit raining. This was evident as young men and women broke into gender groups and were challenged to embrace who God has made them to be and to live in holiness. During this session young people took an opportunity to pray with each other. They prayed with a fervent faith seeking God’s highest for one another, watching this was like reading the Acts of the Apostles.
The weekend continued with workshops, games, Catholic Trivia with emcee Matthew Sewell, a concert with Catholic musicians The Thirsting, and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Mass provided the exclamation mark.
On Sunday morning participants shared their experiences with one another, during which they spoke of healing, transformation, renewed faith, deeper commitment, discernment of vocation, and countless other gifts of mercy from God.
“Before CYC, God wasn’t God, he was miracles. The Eucharist was bread that was supposed to be holy, prayer was a chore I was supposed to do, and I could imagine opening as many doors as I liked, the knocking never changed. CYC changed my life. For the first time, high schoolers weren’t silly, they were people with stories, with pain, longing for the Lord they don’t understand and won’t accept. For the first time, I overwhelmingly longed to be in intimate communion with God. For the first time, I didn’t want to leave the chapel, I yearned to stay, to pray, to sit in silence with the Lord. God showed me how beautiful a life I have and sparked in me a desire to spread that beauty and love throughout this broken world. What did CYC mean to me? It meant everything. To it I owe my life.”
The Youth Leadership team that named themselves “Souldiers” completed the weekend by doing a skit titled “Do Something,” adapted from the song by Matthew West. The lyrics begin, “I woke up this morning, saw a world full of trouble now … So I turned my eyes to Heaven, I thought, ‘God, why don’t you do something?’ … He said, ‘I did, I created you.’”
The concluding message: It’s time for us to do something. Mercy is for all, especially during this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.
Father Dan Barnett, rector of Bishop White Seminary and Vocations Director for the diocese, has been named a Missionary of Mercy, anointed by Pope Francis. Father Barnett celebrated the closing liturgy and sent forth all to bring mercy to their homes and communities. Mercy once recognized and received must be revealed to the world.
(Brian Kraut is director of Parish Support Services for the Diocese of Spokane.)
(IR photos courtesy of Lindsey McSwain)
Mary Bielski proclaims the immense mercy and love of God.
Israel Gonzales and Kimberly Brooking, members of the Diocesan Youth Leadership Team, perform a drama in preparation for Adoration.
Joshua Haxton, Youth Minister at St. Joseph, Colbert, prays with a group of young men.
Daniel Oberreuter and The Thirsting performed their contemporary Catholic music at the Saturday Night Concert.
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