Last weekend I was able to witness the past, present and future of the Catholic Church.
On Saturday I attended the USCMA conference in Arlington, Virginia, where I was surrounded by hundreds of years of mission experience from all over the world. It was a humbling situation to have the opportunity to listen and share with people who have devoted their lives to serving others in need.
A statement that stood out to me from one of the older members was that they were the Pope John XXIII and Paul VI, generation and we, young people, will be the Pope Francis generation. We are the ones who define what that means today and what that will mean in 20, 40 or 100 years.
On Sunday, I attended the young adult Mass for the Archdiocese of Washington with Cardinal Donald Wuerl, where I was able to meet and worship with the people who make up the Pope Francis generation.
During their time, all of these popes have been called radical. The first two have gone down in history as great reformers of the Church, and the people of their times took their messages to heart and created great social change. Our generation has the opportunity to do the same.
That Sunday’s Gospel gives us the way to create these changes in our world: to love God with all our hearts, souls and minds as well as love our neighbors as ourselves. It is a simple idea, but that does not mean that it is easy.
I think the way to do this is to bring faith and works into everyday conversation. The idea of social justice is one that everyone can get behind and support, but it is all too often not accessible. The Pope Francis generation needs to share the stories of the work that they are doing and invite others to join. The power of an invitation is taken for granted; we don’t realize how important it is to make others feel that we want them there.
As I prepare to go on mission I need not go on this journey alone, but to bring others with me through the stories that I experience. This is not always an easy task for me because I usually keep personal stories to myself. So consider this your invitation to join me as I stretch my comfort zone and share my personal growth and experience in Bolivia.