Some years ago I was hanging around outside the Paul VI audience hall (Vatican) during a plenary session of the Italian Bishops Conference. I was waiting for my bishop to emerge. As I waited I chatted with fellow journalists, the bishops’ drivers and secretaries, a couple bishops who had fled the hall in the despair of boredom. The day before, I had been to a Eucharistic procession held by the Teutonic College, next to the Paul VI Hall, that went up through the Vatican gardens. Swiss Guards carried the canopy. Deep in his chest one old bishop rumbled “Meno chiacchiere – più processioni. … Less jabbering – more processions.”
This isn’t rocket science.
I was delighted to read these comments by the Archbishop of Los Angeles at CNA.
LA archbishop thinks best ways to reach youth are often old ones
By Matthew A. Rarey
Vatican City, Oct 19, 2012 / 12:02 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The New Evangelization needs to reach out to young people using every means available, new and old, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles says.
“It is our mission to ask God for the grace to discover new means to reach out to young people,” Archbishop Gomez said. “We need to use all the new means of communication so that they can understand what we are talking about.” [Like.. the internet too? But let us not forget that Christ Himself is the perfect Communicator. Liturgy is our most perfect form of communication. We need to work on a theology of communication.]
The New Evangelization must present timeless truths in new ways, he told CNA on Oct. 18 during a break of the synod on the New Evangelization.
“Beautiful traditions, like the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and the time of contemplation and meditation, are very popular among young people,” he noted. “So we have to go back to that, so that they can feel, too, how important … the Catholic faith is for them.” [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]
Young people are a major focus of the New Evangelization – which is aimed at reintroducing the faith to formerly Christian countries.
Archbishop Gomez believes the Church can accomplish this by taking action rooted in prayer.
“The first thing we need to do is to pray for them,” he said. “And then we have to come up with new, better ways to reach out to them.”
Happily, we have old, better ways which can be new again.
Public devotions, recitation of the Rosary, novenas, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, processions, Holy Mass in the older form.
I am reminded of what Benedict wrote to the Irish people in the wake of the terrible scandals. He urged a return to the basics: fasting, prayer, confession, devotions.
Is this so hard?
It is interesting that more and more prelates are beginning to talk about pious devotions again.