Volunteers. That there may be an increase in the number of volunteers who offer their services to the Christian Community.
Pope Benedict XVI has repeatedly expressed his thanks and admiration for volunteers. Volunteers are the people who hear the Word of God and do it. They carry on the work of Jesus Christ by serving those in need with love and joy. In a meeting with volunteer associations last year, the Pope said that volunteers give our society a “humane and Christian face” it would not otherwise have.
Volunteers are a little yeast leavening the whole loaf, a little salt seasoning the whole dish. Without their free gifts of time and service, said Pope Benedict, we would too often experience a “culture which would calculate the cost of everything, forcing human relationships into a straight jacket of rights and duties.” Volunteers remind us that life itself is an “unmerited gift.”
We at the Apostleship of Prayer heartily concur with the Pope’s profound appreciation of volunteers. Every eight weeks a dozen volunteers swarm into our small Milwaukee office space and help us to mail this very leaflet. They do their job so well that the volume of these mailings has tripled in a little more than a year. Since every envelope or package receives a different number of leaflets, we can’t mechanize the process. We depend on our volunteers to count and fold and stuff and sort and bag each piece.
Let me honor two of them by name. After several years of volunteering for us, Michael and Susan Burczyk know the mail routine better than we do. They get it all organized before the rest of their crew shows up. Some of our volunteers are retired, one is a flight attendant, and several are Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, whose convent is nearby. Their motive? To do something to advance the reign of Christ the King.
How about you? Do you let the love of Jesus overflow in generous service to others? Whatever you do, don’t forget to pray for volunteers everywhere. People throughout the world will notice and say, “See how they love one another.”
How does your gratitude for God’s many gifts to you express itself in loving service?
Matthew 10: 5-8 Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them….”As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost are you to give.”
World Youth Day. That World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia may awaken the fire of divine love in young people and make them sowers of hope for a new humanity.
Pope Benedict XVI will visit World Youth Day (WYD) 2008, July 15-20, in Sydney, Australia. The theme Pope Benedict chose for this great Catholic youth festival is “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). The Pope asks us to pray that the WYD in Sydney “may awaken the fire of divine love in young people and make them sowers of hope.”
As many as 300,000 pilgrims will sleep out under the stars at Randwick Racecourse. As many as 500,000 will attend the final Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict on Sunday, July 20.
According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the purpose of WYD is to stir hope in the young people about the future, to call them to come together as one people, and to entrust the future of the Church into their hands.
Our assignment is to pray that the Holy Spirit may fill them with his love in such a way that all who attend are permanently changed. May they return to their homes full of hope that will inspire and mobilize charitable action in others as well as themselves.
In a letter to the youth who will be attending WYD 2008, the Pope emphasized the power of the Holy Spirit by surveying his appearance in the Scriptures. He concludes, “The Spirit of the Lord always remembers every individual and wishes, particularly through you young people, to stir up the wind and fire of a new Pentecost in the world.”
“Once again I repeat that only Christ can fulfill the most intimate aspirations that are in the heart of each person. Only Christ can humanize humanity and lead it to its ‘divinization.’ Through the power of his Spirit he instills divine charity within us, and this makes us capable of loving our neighbor and ready to be of service.”
How are you helping young people to respond to the messages of faith, hope, and love that Jesus speaks through his Church, his Word, and his Spirit?
Joel 3: 1-2 Then afterward I will pour out my spirit upon all mankind. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; even upon the servants and the handmaids, in those days, I will pour out my spirit.
Daily Offering Prayer
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers,
works, joys, and sufferings of this day in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sin, and the reunion of all Christians. I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and of all Apostles of Prayer, and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month.
Prayer of the Month
Official World Youth Day Prayer
God Our Father, we consecrate to you the World Youth Day in Sydney. Guide and protect Pope Benedict and all the leaders of the Church. Inspire and direct all those leading and planning the World Youth Day. Unite and protect them by your fatherly care.
Lord Jesus Christ, before you ascended to the Father, you promised to send your Holy Spirit so that we might be your witnesses to the end of the earth. Bless and multiply the efforts of all our staff and volunteers. Help us to take up our cross and follow you
under the heavenly sign of the Southern Cross.
Holy Spirit, pour out your grace on this Great South Land of the Holy Spirit and grant to us a New Pentecost. Make of this land a true place of welcome for the young people of the world. Grant to those young people who come conversion of life, a deeper faith, and love for all. Enable them to build a new civilization of life, love, and truth. Make them true witnesses to your power and grace. Amen.