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MR in NY: A different kind of Catholicism

Mary Rose Bacani Valenti

Friday, May 22, 2009

Fr. Bob Meyer receiving gift"Parting is such sweet sorrow." So Archbishop Migliore quoted Shakespeare the Great in the homily for Thursday’s Mass at the close of the Catholic Social Teaching seminar in New York City. How appropriate it is that, just like the Apostles who were sent out by Jesus, we are also being sent back home to apply what we’ve learned.
Our time at the Holy See Mission ended in community, because it is in community that we learn about love, about relationships, about the meaning of our life as a self-gift. As we sat on the green grass by the water and soaked in the sun and the fresh air, the student participants offered their parting words, some of which I share with you now:
I came dreading it. I just finished exams. I didn’t know anything about Catholic social teaching. I’m not very religious. It was so new to me to see some of you guys praying over you food! It’s been great to see young people who are like me living out their faith and it’s made me think about my own faith.”
“It’s great to be able to put a face to the needs of the world. I never knew what the Holy See Mission was and I’m so proud that we, as a Church, are active out there and that there are many ways we can make a difference as individuals.”
“I’m not Catholic and didn’t want to have anything to do with any religious institution and, at first, I didn’t know why my college even sent me here! And I realized how I’ve been exposed to a different kind of Catholicism. This has definitely opened my eyes to what Catholics are really doing. Thanks to all of you who’ve been open to me and my different political views.”
Fr. Bob Meyer and Luke Swanepoel have been our main guides these past six days. Our group expressed our thanks by giving them a framed picture of the 2009 seminar group and a card with our words from the heart. Thanks Fr. Bob and Luke!
Students sharing after Path to Peace seminarThanks also to Archbishop Migliore and the rest of the Holy See Mission staff, benefactors and supporters, the Passionist congregation and helpers who had housed and fed us, and Fr. Thomas Rosica for sending me!
Fr. Bob said a few words of special significance. He reminded us that we, the young people, are the future of the Church. Spread the Good News, tell others about the Holy See Mission, and just be great apostles! On the Feast of the Ascension, Jesus reminds us that life is not about looking up to see where He is, but looking around us and being present to those in need.
Visit the Path to Peace Foundation website to learn more about the Catholic Social Teaching seminar.

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