Lenten reflection from our Parish Vitality Facilitator – Terrel Joseph
Pillar’s this Lent: Journeying with young people to the foot of the Cross of Jesus
As we continue through these early weeks of this year’s Lenten season, I wanted to share with you a short reflection on the gospel for the second week of Lent. I will also be outlining some of the tremendous work of youth ministry in our Archdiocese made possible in part by The Pillars Trust Fund.
Gospel for the Second Sunday of Lent 2018
Mark 9:2-10: The Transfiguration of our Lord
Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them.
And there appeared to them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbit, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” Peter did not know what to say, for they were terrified.
Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them anymore, but only Jesus.
As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean.
During Lent, the Church invites us to journey with Jesus to the foot of the cross on Calvary and to witness again the greatest of all acts of love. In a few short weeks, we will re-live Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and remember again our Lord’s death and resurrection.
The Gospel account of the Transfiguration of our Lord on the mountain top is rich in meaning. However, the one theme I would like to reflect on briefly is the last line of the gospel passage when Peter, James and John wondered for themselves, “what this rising from the dead could mean.”
Along with these three apostles, we can ask ourselves: What does it mean, not only to rise from the dead at the end our days, but also to be resurrected and transfigured in our world today. The promise inherent in this event is good news for people of all ages, but is especially good news for young people.
This past Sunday’s gospel was a reminder that God wants to transform our lives right here and now. One powerful example of this is the way Christ has inspired His Church to reach out to teenagers and young adults, to help them encounter Him and experience this transfiguration.
For many years now, The Pillars Trust Fund has been a proud sponsor of youth ministry in Montreal in a number of different ways. One of its primary financial beneficiaries is Mission Jeunesse, the Archdiocesan Youth Ministry Office. This dedicated team of passionate women and men is devoted to helping young people encounter Jesus and become His disciples.
Take a look at Mission Jeunesse’s special Lent Challenge email to young people for this year Click Here
A sizable portion of donations to the Pillars Trust Fund goes to Mission Jeunesse, enabling them to organize major events like Diocesan World Youth Day (WYD). This event takes place every year at the beginning of Holy Week on the Saturday of Palm Sunday weekend. The Archbishop of Montreal invites young people from all over the diocese to join him for a day to celebrate young people living in the heart of the Church, and to journey with him all the way to the foot of the cross of Jesus.
Diocesan WYD typically begins with parallel “youth festivals” for teens and for young adults, respectively. This is followed by a procession with palm branches through the streets of Montreal to St Patrick’s basilica for a blessing and then on to Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral. The event concludes with Palm Sunday Mass at the Cathedral, including a dramatized reading of the Passion of Our Lord. Well over 1000 young people attend each year, their lives touched and often transformed by Christ through this event. This year Diocesan WYD will take place on Saturday March 24, 2018.
Take a look at the Archbishop’s invitation to the youth of Montreal for Diocesan WYD 2018, and please share it with all the young people in your parish Click Here
In addition to sponsoring youth initiatives indirectly through Mission Jeunesse, The Pillars Trust Fund also supports youth ministry directly through other projects.
One of our big youth investments for 2018 is to help local teens (14 to 18 years old) attend the Steubenville Toronto Youth Conference. The Steubenville conferences were developed at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, in Ohio. Over the decades, these conferences have spread all over North America and become known as the “best of the best” of Catholic youth events. The next Steubenville Toronto conference is planned for July 13-15, 2018, and over two thousand young people from Canada and the United States are expected to gather for three days of music, prayer, world class speakers, Eucharistic Adoration, and the sacraments. Steubenville conferences have a reputation for challenging lukewarm Catholic teens to light their faith on fire. Corpus Christi parish in the West Island of Montreal has brought several groups of teens to Steubenville conferences, which have inspired several of their young people to become leaders in their parish youth ministry. This sort of transformational (transfiguration!) experience is the hope of the 5+ parishes who are already committed to sending youth from Montreal to this conference with the help of The Pillars Trust Fund.
This year’s Steubenville Toronto Conference is taking place July 13-15, 2018. For more information, check out the event website (http://www.steubenvilletoronto.com), and contact our Parish Vitality Facilitator (email@example.com) and/or Mission Jeunesse (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details.
Our hope for this special one-time investment in this year’s Steubenville Toronto delegation is that this year’s multi-parish delegation will be the first of many from Montreal in the years to come, ultimately strengthening the faith of hundreds of future Catholic leaders for tomorrow’s Church.
So on behalf of all of us working for The Pillars Trust Fund, we would like to wish you a very blessed and holy Lenten season. We will continue to pray that you and the young people in your parish can experience the transfiguration of our Lord in your lives.
Take care and God Bless,
Parish Vitality Facilitator
The Pillars Trust Fund of Montreal
If you’re excited by the work you’re seeing in your community, especially through those efforts of the Pillars Trust Fund, please consider donating to our campaign: Click here