This weekend we also recognize 18 young people from our parish who will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation beginning at 7:00 at the Cathedral on Thursday evening.
So with one prayer of praise we look back. We thank God for two Popes who were raised up in holiness to inspire and bless the world in powerful and lasting ways. With another prayer of praise we look forward. We thank God for our young people. We marvel with hope at the way they now go forth to do great and beautiful things in God's grace. In the loving plan of God they too are to become great saints.
Bishop Michael Sheridan from Colorado Springs once wrote of the hope he shares with young people at Confirmation:
"At Confirmation Masses, I often ask the young people whom I confirm which of them aspires to sainthood. More often than not they look furtively at each other to see who might dare to raise a hand. After several seconds of waiting, a few hands are hesitatingly lifted, but there is usually a look of uncertainty on the faces of those young men and women bold enough to claim to seek sainthood. For many Catholics, becoming a saint is simply not on their radar screens. For some it seems pretentious – even presumptuous – to confess that they seek after holiness. It is at that point that I ask the confirmandi to realize that there is only one alternative to sainthood. They get the point quickly and are ready to stand among those who would be saints."
Thank you, young people, for responding to God's grace with love. Many seek greatness. You will find the greatest greatness only through a life in God. Many seek to be beautiful. The most radiant beauty will come over you the more you grow in God.
Thanks too to the catechists, staff members, and especially the parents who have shared with them the gift of Christ. Pope John XXIII, in his famous "Speech to the Moon" said, "Returning home, go to your children. Give them a hug and say: ‘this is the Pope's hug'... The Pope is with his children." Two Popes are with our young people this weekend. They, along with a vast company of saints, urge us all on to unsurpassable glory.