Friday, January 2, 2009

World Youth Day spurs conversions, vocations and interest in catechesis

From Zenit, with my emphasis ...

SYDNEY, Australia, JAN. 1, 2009 ( The archbishop of Sydney, the host city for July's World Youth Day, says the event brought conversions and vocations to the priesthood.

Cardinal George Pell affirmed this to the Italian bishops' SIR news agency, saying that "we are registering an increase in conversions [to Catholicism.]"

"A few days ago," he explained, "one parish priest called me to tell me that 25 people, youth and adults, had decided to become Catholic."

The number of seminarians is also going up, the cardinal added, explaining that in February, seven youth will enter the seminary of Sydney and eight in Melbourne. He also noted an increase in retreats and religious events.

One of the World Youth Day activities that continues to be in-demand is catechesis, Cardinal Pell said.

"Many continue to ask for it and in numerous parishes, it has become a regular event," he said. "Youth don't want to be told just what is good and what is bad, but rather they want to understand the doctrine of the Church regarding current topics."

The cardinal mentioned that another fruit of World Youth Day is a renewed pastoral attention to the Aborigine peoples. He said that this ministry would be further developed during 2009, with a particular focus on free education in Catholic schools for Aborigine children.

I can only underscore the Cardinal's comments regarding the desire of many of our young people to understand why the Church teaches what she does. Much of my time as a junior high catechist is spent in explanation of various Church teachings, usually in response to some very thoughtful questions. I count it as time well spent.

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