ago this summer, more the 500,000 people came to Cherry Creek State
Park to greet the Holy Father and worship Jesus Christ at World
Youth Day 1993. I was there as a young bishop from South Dakota,
and I remember marveling at the crowd not just its vast size, but
also its variety, with persons from every corner of Colorado, the
United States and the world.
the differences in language and culture which can sometimes separate
us, didn't matter. We were one family in Christ. We all had the
same enthusiasm. We all shared the same joy. And we all had the
same goal: experiencing the presence of God and giving Him glory.
marveling, too, at the way God used the Holy Father to inspire and
re-energize each of us that day. This elderly Polish priest _ a
man in his 70s! fired up a whole generation of young Colorado Catholics.
And how did he do it? By his own obvious enthusiasm for Jesus Christ.
By witnessing his own ardent love for the Gospel with humor, energy
A little more
than a year later, in November 1994, John Paul II announced preparations
for the Great Jubilee. As part of those preparations, he urged Catholics
all over the world to recover their zeal for the Gospel and renew
their missionary spirit exactly those things he modeled so powerfully
himself in Denver.
Now the "year
of God's favor" the Jubilee is upon us, and the most fruitful
way for each of us to live the Great Jubilee is to measure our lives
against the "acts of the Apostles" who left the Upper
Room on fire with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. They lacked resources,
education, social advantages . . . and yet they changed the world.
They brought Jesus Christ to every culture and every nation.
we done? Whom have we touched with the presence of Jesus Christ?
lesson of World Youth Day, like the first Pentecost, is that our
common love for Jesus Christ binds us together as one believing
people, despite our differences in race, language and culture .
. . and that as one people, we need to bring Jesus Christ to the
2000: Go Make Disciples of All Nations" if we bring our hearts
to it will be a moment of special grace; a link between the joy
of World Youth Day 1993 and the great celebration of our Jubilee
eucharistic congress on September 17 this year. I'm especially grateful
that Msgr. Ed Buelt, who played such a key role in World Youth Day
1993's success, will make one of the day's key presentations. He
saw the power of the "new evangelization" firsthand throughout
the World Youth Day experience.