English-speaking pilgrims find culture, faith at Love and Life Center
MADRID — The colors of World Youth Day lit up the auditorium of the Palacio de Deportes sports arena in Madrid Tuesday afternoon for the opening of the "Love and Life Center: A Home for English-Speaking Pilgrims."
American, Canadian and World Youth Day flags, among others, swayed to the rockin' beat of Louisiana-based L'Angelus, a Catholic family band that opened the event to cheers of young people ready to be on fire with their faith.
Band members invited their younger siblings onstage. Twins Maximilian and Kolbe Rees, 7, played "When the Saints Go Marching In" on the trumpet, and 5-year-old Molly endeared herself to the crowd by singing and performing a French-Canadian dance.
L'Angelus offered a fitting tribute to the center's celebration of the Catholic faith.
The center is a "microcosm of the culture of life," said Sister Mary Gabriel, novice director for the Sisters of Life. "You will find everything. You will find a home for yourself."
A collaboration of the Knights of Columbus and the New York-based sisters, the Love and Life Center will offer four days of programming to help pilgrims grow closer to God. Events include catechesis by Sydney Cardinal George Pell; a panel on theology of the body; music from groups like L'Angelus and Northern Virginia-based folk-rock group Scythian; a "You and Me" exhibit depicting the power of choice; and, of course, prayer.
The center is co-sponsored by Holy Cross Family Ministries, Canada's Salt and Light Television Network, the Apostleship of Prayer, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), World Youth Alliance and the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family.
Sister Mary Gabriel said the Love and Life Center is all about giving hope to the young people who participate. She said the nuns arrived Aug. 10 and have since been busy getting the center ready for the pilgrims, especially the "You and Me" exhibit, which uses audio to tell the stories of people who allowed God to work through the choices they made in their lives.
"It's about the human person and the power of a choice," Sister Mary Gabriel said. "Even one choice can radically change the world."
Pilgrims wiped tears from their eyes as they moved from station to station, listening to the witnesses of real people the Sisters of Life met through their ministry or through the Catholic community. The different examples of family life show how "literally new worlds were opened up" as people found guidance through God's help, Sister Mary Gabriel said.
"They touch on issues of the heart, the issues that everyone grapples with to some degree," she said. "They're all really powerful."
Jennifer Loser, alumni relations manager with FOCUS, said the group's connection with the Knights of Columbus has enabled it to "share in the joy and the hospitality of inviting people into the love and life center."
"We hope that (pilgrims) see that people are young and attractive and excited to serve the Lord," Loser said.
Sister Mary Gabriel said she hopes the pilgrims will leave the center knowing there is "hope for me -- that Christ is good and Christ means good for us."
"The idea is that everyone who comes here will be able to receive something that allows them to grow closer to Christ and grow closer to who they are and knowing what their potential is," she said. "The Lord is with them. Love is possible in their life. They can live life in this way and be set free."
She said all the work, time and effort put into getting the center ready all boils down to making "a place where the Lord can give us what he's prepared for us."
"He's here and he's anticipated this more than us," she said. "That, to me, is what is so beautiful. He just takes over, and you let it roll."
Pictured: U.S. World Youth Day pilgrims cheer around their flag Aug. 15 during a television interview outside the check-in hall for the international Catholic youth gathering in Madrid. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
— Gretchen R. Crowe, Catholic News Service
New deacon welcomed at St John NeumannCHARLOTTE — Deacon Joseph Denzler has been granted faculties by Bishop Peter J. Jugis and has been assigned to St John Neumann Parish in Charlotte. Deacon Denzler was ordained for the diocese of Brooklyn in New York on May 23, 2009. A native...
CRS CEO Woo visits Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in High PointHIGH POINT — "The work we do is in your name," Dr. Carolyn Woo told parishioners at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in High Point May 20. "Your presence is what we bring into the world." The special visit from the president and CEO of Catholic...
College students spend weekend 'awakening' their faithKING — A group of Catholic students from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill recently held their first Awakening Retreat at Camp Hanes in King. Aided by Raleigh's Catholic Campus Ministries and...
Postcard from Kingston: My impressions of our parish mission trip to JamaicaKINGSTON, Jamaica — I was feeding a young boy named Paul, who couldn't speak or use his limbs. He was sitting in a chair and I was in a child's chair beside him. As I began to feed him I could see his eyes following me, and it was at that...
'Yankee' turned Southern pastor reflects on 60 years as a priestALLEGANY, N.Y. — Sixty years ago on May 14, 1953, Monsignor Thomas Walsh was ordained to the priesthood at Our Lady of Grace Church in Greensboro. Just a few short years before, Monsignor Walsh didn't even know anything about North Carolina....
Nuns get on the bus for immigration reformCHARLOTTE — The nationwide "Nuns on the Bus" campaign by members of NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby led by Sister Simone Campbell, S.S.S., executive director, will stop in Charlotte Friday, May 31, to highlight the urgent need for...
Military Mass planned for July 7CHARLOTTE — Bishop Peter J. Jugis will celebrate a Mass for U.S. military personnel at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, July 7, at St. Patrick Cathedral in Charlotte. The Mass and rosary (to be recited at 3 p.m.) will be offered for all military personnel...
Catholic Charities celebrates new nameCHARLOTTE — Dr. Gerard Carter, executive director of Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte, formally Catholic Social Services, introduced the agency's new name and logo at an unveiling ceremony May 17 at the Pastoral Center in Charlotte. Forty...
Belmont parish hosts community shredding eventBELMONT — A Community Shredding Fundraising Event was held May 4, at Queen of the Apostles Church in Belmont. According to event organizer, parishioner George Burazer, the event had several aims: to provide people with a convenient way to...
Sunshine, smiles light up Belmont Abbey College graduationSavannah bishop encourages grads to be excited about their faith BELMONT — At 8:55 on May 11, their last morning as students of the Benedictine-run Belmont Abbey College, 364 graduates gathered one last time to join the monks for prayer....
Dozens of youth confirmed at St. Ann ChurchCHARLOTTE — Bishop Peter Jugis confirmed 28 youth from St. Ann Church on May 13 at 7 pm. He spoke to the confirmands in his homily, telling them, "God the Father has chosen you this evening to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in...
New Redemptorist parochial vicar joins Concord, Kannapolis parishesCONCORD — Redemptorist Father Aldrin Christopher Roswell Nunes has been appointed parochial vicar at St. James the Greater Church in Concord, effective April 23, Bishop Peter J. Jugis recently announced. Father Nunes will serve both St. James...
Renewing roots in charityLearn about the new Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Since 2005 we have celebrated Catholic Social Services Week. Each year this week provides an opportunity for our parishioners to become more...
Charlotte seminarians graduate from Pontifical College JosephinumCOLUMBUS, Ohio — The second Saturday of May was a joyful day at the Pontifical College Josephinum, as the only pontifical seminary outside of Italy held its 114th baccalaureate Mass and commencement exercises. Diocese of Charlotte seminarians...
MOST POPULAR STORIES
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy