Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pause for Technical Difficulties

I decided the old design was far too difficult to read. This one isn't perfect, but it suits me and is easier on the eyes (I think). If you have suggestions, let me know. Hopefully with a normal day off (is there such a thing?) tomorrow, I will post more on the conference. Though I do plan on spending some of the day with my sewing machine and a bit of time on the sofa with Gracie and West Wing on the TV.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Welcome to the Conference

My apologies to anyone expecting a next day delivery on the second installment of the 10th Youth Forum thoughts from yours truly. My week was quickly consumed with the administrative headache of determining flights to Bolivia for our summer service trip and finding enough teenagers to help with baby sitting for a special event tomorrow. Neither are nailed down, but at this moment, I cannot do anything more.

To open the Forum Cardnal Rylko had a short welcome for us. He introduced the basic topic of the conference - love and relationships. Much of what he said gleaned from the words of Pope John Paul II.

He quoted Pope John Paul II, "Tell me what your love is and i will tell you who you are."

Here in the U.S. we use the words love and hate quite flippantly. Many times prior to leaving for the Forum I uttered the words, "I love gelato." I was of course duly excited to taste this particular favorite food in Italy. Of course, I know that I don't truly love the frozen confection. I very much like it and will willing walk through the better part of Rome in an effort to find my favorite gelateria (Google "Della Palma Rome" and you'll see why). However, I know that the word love is much more than a partiality for gelato.

The difficulty arises for those that do not create that distinction. Lust, admiration, dependency, desire to not be alone, or a passing fancy are often misinterpreted as love in our society. I see this with both the youth and the young adults that I interact with each day.

In his introduction, the Cardinal made the point that love is not a question of being but of becoming. This has given me much to reflect on since Rome. It also makes me think of my mother. Her wisdom about marriage comes in brief, but wise statements she has made over the years. She once said to me that you're going to change, it is a fact of life, marriage is deciding to change together instead of changing apart. When love is approached as a state of being or simply 'being in love' it offers an impression of stasis. Yet, we know from experience that life is anything but permanent and immobile. How can we expect love to be unchanging when all around us, and indeed we ourselves change?

In his closing, Cardinal Rylko said that it is worthwhile to live as builders of a civilization of love. No small task. Yet, the Gospels provide us with the building blocks of how to do that. From the simplest statements of forgiveness, mercy, compassion, and healing we find the steps to take.

My challenge to you today is, where will you place a brick to build a civilization of love today?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Recovery & Processing

No, I'm not going to start a dissertation on the Marshall Plan. The title does sum up how I am attempting to get through the 10th Youth Forum hosted by the Pontifical Council for the Laity and Holy Week.

I understand why the Council chose the week prior to Holy Week, Palm Sunday is World Youth Day. However, as a person employed in a parish, that is a rough time to be gone.

Despite it all, the forum was an incredible experience. I will be breaking it apart in the next several days. Here are a few snippets of information:
  • 230 delegates
  • 92 countries
  • 33 international movements
  • Some countries represented: Moldova, Croatia, Russia, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Israel, Uzbekistan, India, Indonesia, Palestinian Territories, Myanmar, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Madagascar, Zambia, Congo Brazzaville, Sudan, Rwanda, Australia, Ireland, Chad, Uruguay, El Salvador, and more.
  • Our days began by 8 am and continued strong at least until dinner at 8 pm
  • Cappuccino from machines in Italy will beat out 97% of US coffee house coffees, hands down
  • Bran flakes no longer cut it, I want a croissant with that chocolate filling!
Tomorrow I'll start in on sharing some thoughts from the various sessions.