Atmosphere charged at youth celebration first posted 29 November 2000

 LONDON - 29 November 2000 - 500 words More than 1,600 young people attended the jubilee youth celebration at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday. One young person who was there sent us this exclusive report: On the vigil of Christ the King, the atmosphere in Westminster Cathedral was charged by the poignancy of a dramatic, meditative reflection on the meaning of the Cross. The congregation gathered to the sound of the Cardinal Pole School Gospel Choir before a candlelit procession entered the darkened cathedral. A powerful drama based on the Cross was then echoed through the testimony of a young man, Andi Curran, who spoke of the importance and effects of the Cross in his own life. All of this was contained within a contemporary prayerful liturgy. Speaking beneath the enormous floodlit Rood, Archbishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor gave an inspiring address. In his homily, the Archbishop sensitively developed the central image of the Cross as the ultimate symbol of Christ's love, a love that constituted His Kingdom. Starting with his reflections on the recent World Youth Day in Rome, he recounted "the striking image of a frail Holy Father holding hands with five young people representing the five main continents of the world, advancing towards a large Cross". "The Cross," he said, "is God's expression of an unconditional and irrevocable love for each individual in a world in darkness." The confusion of choices over the various 'truths' being presented to the young in today's world was highlighted by a scene the Archbishop witnessed and shared. Two young people in Rome, both wearing t- shirts, each offering very different messages. The first, a rather flippant one was eclipsed by an inspiring one which read: "Do not follow me; I may not lead "Do not lead me; I may not follow "Come, walk with me and be my friend" Our personal response to such an invitation from Christ, the Archbishop said to the young, was to "develop the tremendous potential within you, and from there will crystallise your own individual mission within the Church". Using an illustration of three 'h's - head, hands and heart - the Archbishop detailed the process of Christian discipleship: the role of the mind and faith, then radical service that evolves from our choice to follow Christ, and the heart's love which is the motivating force. In a lively and encouraging manner the Archbishop conveyed a deep appreciation of each person's capacity for supporting and nourishing the life of faith, of truth, of love in the Church - the visible Kingdom of Christ on earth. He spoke firmly and clearly to the young people saying: "I need you. The Church needs you!" The celebration ended with young people recommitting their lives to "live according to the Gospel; through my words and actions, as a sign of Your love to all". This was followed by the choir and musicians leading the young people, some of whom were dancing in the side aisles, to a rousing song encouraging the name of Jesus to be raised high in our nation.

Share this story