A special guest made the Global Celebration of Youth and Young Adults even more meaningful in the Diocese of Cleveland this year. The celebration took place on the feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, which is the last Sunday of the liturgical year.
Archbishop Timothy Broglio, who shepherds the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA and is serving as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, celebrated the vigil Mass on Nov. 25 in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. He also attended a post-Mass reception in the cathedral rectory.
Father Damian Ference, vicar for evangelization and head of Parish Life and Special Ministries, concelebrated the Mass. Deacon John Sferry from the cathedral and Deacon Rob Blackburn from St Basil the Great Parish in Brecksville – who also is a young adult – assisted with the liturgy.
(See photo gallery above.)
A Cleveland Heights native who was ordained a priest for the Cleveland Diocese in 1977, Archbishop Broglio said he was happy to be back home.
Mike Hayes, director of the diocesan Young Adult Ministry, welcomed the archbishop. The Young Adult Ministry connects with Catholics ages 18-39 to accompany them on their faith journey.
“It is rare for me to celebrate this feast here (in Cleveland) and it’s probably the first time I am celebrating it in the cathedral,” the archbishop said.
During his homily, he posed this question to the congregation: “Would things be different if people really looked at Christ as king of the universe?”
We should look at anyone who needs help of any kind – including immigrants, the poor, refugees, etc. -- as Christ. “That changes the discourse,” he said, adding, “See the face of Christ and remember his words to us.” He said Jesus tells us to open our eyes and see.
St. Martin of Tours saw a beggar and split his cloak, giving half to the beggar. Then he saw a vision of Christ, who was wearing half of a cloak.
“St. John of the Cross tells us that in the evening of our lives, we will be judged by our love,” Archbishop Broglio said.
Reflecting on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, the archbishop said the sovereignty of Christ is celebrated in his victory over death. “And we all are invited to participate in that victory every Sunday,” he added.
In recent weeks, he said we have looked with horror at what is happening in places like the land of Christ and Ukraine. “We must – somehow – learn to live in peace,” he said, noting we are called to be teachers and to set an example. Today’s judgment includes all nations and all who are called before the throne of the Lord.
“As people of faith, we are held to a higher standard,” he said. In fact, there are many martyrs who chose to die for their faith. The archbishop also shared the story of a priest in Europe during World War II who lived in a town where many were resisting the Nazis. As reprisal, the Nazis would shoot the resisters. In one town, the priest wanted to make a deal that the Nazis would shoot him and spare the town’s residents. The commandant agreed and at the appointed time, the priest reported to him. One of the soldiers refused to participate in the priest’s execution, calling it an immoral act. He stood by the priest and both were killed.
“This is an example of being able to speak truth to power.” Archbishop Broglio said.
“On our journey to everlasting life, we have a king who shepherds us to that everlasting life and draws others to Christ,” he added.
The archbishop spent some time after Mass greeting the faithful before stopping at the reception to mingle with the young adults.
To learn more about the Young Adult Ministry, click here.