On November 23, during a prayer vigil held to celebrate the Feast of Christ, King of the Universe, Archbishop Christian Lépine sent forth on mission the diocesan youth registered for World Youth Day, which takes place in Panama this January with Pope Francis attending.
During the vigil, in which a deeply meditative atmosphere had been created, Archbishop Lépine prayed for the 175 young people from the diocese he was sending on this mission. Following a cinq-à-sept gathering, the young adults then prayed before the Blessed Sacrament in Mary Queen of the World Cathedral.
Organized by Mission Jeunesse Youth Ministry, the vigil included prayers, readings, singing led by the CréaXion Choir, and testimonies, inspiring everyone to pray: "He who became King by humbling himself".
The Archbishop prayed for all the young people of today and "for the youth leaders who inspire young people to respond to the love of Christ and to continue their discovery and deepening of their faith," because only faith enables everyone to be free when opening one’s heart to Christ.
"And like Mary, we respond ‘Here I am’ in order to listen to Your voice and to find the answer to the deepest questions of our heart."
Archbishop Lépine thus recalled the 2019 World Youth Day theme proposed by Pope Francis: "I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."
The two testimonies that followed also focused on the theme: “I am not here to think of myself but of others. This is what Mary teaches us: Say ‘yes’ to serve the Lord and choose to follow the plan He gave us”, said Deacon Emmanuel Zetino, youth minister at Saint Gilbert parish, and leader of a group of WYD pilgrims with the Claretians.
Julian Paparella, campus minister at the Newman Centre (the student Catholic centre at McGill University), emphasized the role of youth in the Church: "Young people are not spectators; they are the Church that God wants us to proclaim to our families, our friends, our colleagues. God is at work everywhere and nothing can stop his love from transforming us.” Julian Paparella described the kind of life pilgrims were going to experience at WYD, that of the universality of the Church: "There are young people who live awful things that one could not even imagine, and, yet, they keep hope in their faith and such an inspiring devotion to Christ!” He urged young people to have "the same hope and strength here in Montreal."
Throughout the vigil, which included songs, music, prayers and moments of silence, pilgrims drew near to the Blessed Sacrament to offer their prayers, intentions and dreams or simply to confide their problems to God. Many approached, kneeling and lighting candles representing the flame of the Holy Spirit that inspires us to serve and love in joy. Archbishop Lépine joined them in prayer.
Within this unique adoration atmosphere, Archbishop Lépine blessed the young people concluding this part of the Eucharistic adoration, saying: "As Mary makes herself available in joy, let us not be afraid to proclaim the power of God with trust and confidence".
For Rhea, who will be among the pilgrims travelling to Panama: "This blessing is the beginning of a beautiful human and spiritual journey." Like many of young people present, she left the celebration thrilled "to see so many committed young people".