Bishop Deshotel encourages youth to ‘persevere in prayer’ at annual World Youth Day Mass

By Jacqueline Burkepile

Correspondent

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St. Mark parishioners stand together at World Youth Day Oct. 20. (Photo courtesy of Lindsey Whitis)

More than 6,000 youth from the dioceses of Fort Worth, Dallas, and Tyler filled the Six Flags Over Texas theme park with a variety of colors at the annual World Youth Day on Oct. 20. Youth and their chaperones wore solid-colored T-shirts imprinted with a theme inspired by Pope Francis: “Powered by Faith — ‘Have a deep spirit! Do not be afraid to dream of great things.’”

In addition to being celebrated internationally by the Church every few years, many dioceses across the world hold their own annual diocesan celebrations of youth. Since the 1990s, World Youth Day at Six Flags has provided community and fellowship for thousands of Catholic youth in North Texas. The day begins with amusement park attractions, and at 4 p.m. youth meet in the park’s Music Mill amphitheater for community-building and faith-enriching activities. Dallas Auxiliary Bishop Douglas Deshotel celebrated the closing Mass at 5 p.m. with Fort Worth Diocesan Administrator Monsignor Stephen Berg concelebrating.

Kenya Solomon Masala and his X8 Interactive Drumming team led this year’s pre-Mass activities on the Music Mill stage. He and his group united the crowd through an interactive musical approach, incorporating global rhythms from West Africa, Brazil, and South America. He invited young people to clap their hands and stomp their feet to the rhythm, while proclaiming their love for the Lord.

Through his interactive methods, Masala said he hopes the youth left the event feeling like “instruments of God,” and that he inspired them to go forth and proclaim Christ to the world and “listen to that voice that comes directly from the Spirit.”

Bishop Deshotel’s homily emphasized the importance of prayer in everyday life. He discussed prayers of petition, repentance, and thanksgiving, and encouraged youth to always persevere in prayer.

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Youth from St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Grapevine join in worship at the World Youth Day Mass Oct. 20. (Photo courtesy of Erica Martinez)

“God sees all eternity and He knows what is good for us, what will help us to grow in our relationship with Him, and also what will separate us from Him.” said Bishop Deshotel. “When we think about true prayer, we have to remember what the goals of our prayer must be.”

Several World Youth Day participants spoke of their enthusiasm for the annual gathering, including senior Joseph Barringhaus from St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Grapevine who said the large Mass reassures him and strengthens his faith. “It helps me realize that I’m not alone here,” he said. “There are a lot of Catholic people here who go through the same things that I do, and they’re [part of] the faith, and they understand what I’m going through. It’s pretty cool.”

Junior DeDee McCaffrey of Holy Family Parish in Fort Worth said the World Youth Day Mass inspires her and that the Eucharist was the “coolest part of Mass to me, and I think it shows how everyone is one body all together in the Body of Christ,” said McCaffrey. “It’s so comforting to know that there are so many other people like you of the same faith who can worship and praise with you. It’s a great feeling.”

Msgr. Stephen Berg concluded the Mass with an address to the youth, thanking them for participating in World Youth Day, and for being witnesses of Jesus Christ to the world. He humbly expressed his pride in the youth, and asked them to remember God’s presence in their everyday challenges.

He asked the assembly to be ready to respond to the surprises God offers them in their lives, and encouraged them, as they re-entered their daily lives, to “show up for Jesus, ... show up for the poor, [and] ... show up for each other.”

WYD-Button_1.jpgMore than 6,000 youth from the dioceses of Fort Worth, Dallas, and Tyler filled the Six Flags Over Texas theme park with a variety of colors at the annual World Youth Day on Oct. 20. Youth and their chaperones wore solid-colored T-shirts imprinted with a theme inspired by Pope Francis: “Powered by Faith — ‘Have a deep spirit! Do not be afraid to dream of great things.’”

Published