Young adults from across the eight-county Diocese of Cleveland gathered Nov. 19 in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist for the Global Celebration of Young People. The liturgy coincided with the solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, which is observed on the last Sunday of the liturgical year.
Auxiliary Bishop Michael Woost was the celebrant with Father Damian Ference, director of the diocesan Office of Parish Life and Special Ministries, as concelebrant.
“The Holy Father invited us to have this special global celebration of young people,” Bishop Woost told the faithful who gathered in the cathedral for the vigil Mass.
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He said the celebration reminds us that Christ needs to be the king of our hearts and it’s important to bring that message to the world.
“He is in you. He is with you. He will never abandon you,” the bishop said. “We are told a message we need to hear.”
In the second reading, Bishop Woost said we are reminded that God the Father invites us to share in his kingdom and Jesus makes it possible. God’s life is united to ours starting with the sacrament of baptism, he said, and it is strengthened in confirmation. “God dwells in us, body, soul and divinity, And if he’s in you, he is also in your brother. We need to recognize the presence of Christ. He is in you, he is with you and he will not abandon you,” the bishop repeated.
Referring to another of the day’s readings, he said the elders came to young David and said he was chosen to be king. God chose him and the elders said they supported him. “They were with him and he was with them bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh. He was already with them,” Bishop Woost said, “So how much more could Christ be with us? He chose to be with us in life, death, resurrected life and forever. Lord we are with you because you are with us. We want to stand with you as your disciples, friends and beloved.”
Once again, he reminded the faithful that God would never abandon them.
The image of Christ hanging on the cross is not very majestic but it is the greatest sign of servant leadership, of Jesus being a true king because he gave everything for us, the bishop said. Jesus was mocked by some because they couldn’t see who he really was. But when he was crucified, some saw who he was – like one of the thieves who was crucified with him, That man asked Jesus to let him be with him. “And regardless of his past, Jesus promised him that today he would be with him in paradise,” the bishop said.
We must be open to the Lord, sharing our fears, doubts, strengths and weaknesses, giving them all to him so we can be with him in his kingdom, Bishop Woost said.
“Whenever we surrender all to him, he tells us, ‘This day, you will be with me in paradise.’ He will never abandon you. He is with you, he is in you. And, I add, he will work through you. Christ called each of us to be instruments of his presence in the world. Today, each of us has been called to be a living sign of him and his love,” the bishop said.
He thanked the young people for their presence and for accepting God’s call “to be willing to live the challenge. Remember, he is in you, he is with you, he will never abandon you and he will work through you because Christ is the king of the universe and he longs to be in our hearts.”
After Mass, the young adults were invited to a reception in the cathedral rectory where they could mingle, enjoy conversation and get acquainted with Bishop Woost.
The event was hosted by the diocesan Office of Young Adult Ministry, which is directed by Mike Hayes.