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Bishop Burbidge Offers WYD Reflection

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Saturday, August 20, World Youth Day 2011
Reflection by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge

The spirit in Madrid is one of great joy and excitement. Our youth from around the world reflect such a deep love for Our Lord Jesus, His Church and the Eucharist. Our diocesan pilgrims continue to make this a real "spiritual journey." I am so proud of them.

A major component of World Youth Day is catechesis and the teaching of our faith. Yesterday, our diocesan pilgrims attended a session given by Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York. He reminded the youth that they are "to be authentic witnesses" for Jesus and His Gospel. He told them they respond to that call by reflecting joy, charity and love for the Church and one another. The Archbishop asked them to persevere in sharing the faith and never tire of gently and sincerely inviting their peers and others to embrace it. I am convinced that our youth, strengthened by the graces of World Youth Day, will return home renewed in their commitment to be authentic witnesses. The session concluded with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at which Archbishop Dolan enthusiastically told the pilgrims that the Eucharist is always the source of our strength.

Last night, pilgrims participated in the Way of the Cross and the Holy Father presided. We remembered all our family members and friends at home who are suffering in any way and asked the Lord to bless them with his healing love. Pope Benedict asked the pilgrims to remember how much God loves them and to believe that no cross is greater than His love.

This morning (Saturday), there was a Mass for all the pilgrims from the United States. Approximately 65 U.S. Bishops were in attendance. At the end of the Mass, a young woman (representing all the pilgrims) conveyed love, support and assurance of prayers to the Bishops. You cannot underestimate how much those words deeply touched my heart and the hearts of my brother bishops. Cardinal George responded and assured the young people of how much the Bishops love them and what a source of inspiration they are for us.

Tonight is a Prayer Vigil with the Holy Father and Eucharistic Adoration. The pilgrims will spend the night in adoration of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament and in preparation for the Closing Mass with Pope Benedict on Sunday. While the schedule is demanding, the energy level of the pilgrims appears higher than ever. The reason is clear. The pilgrims are on fire with their love for the Lord, the Holy Father and the Catholic Faith. I am confident they will bring that energy back home with them as "authentic witnesses" of Jesus and His Gospel. Please continue to pray for them and know of my prayers each day for all in the Diocese of Raleigh.

Above: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge and pilgrims following Saturday, August 20 Mass for all U.S. pilgrims at World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid, Spain.