Youth Formation Letter 2014

Fr. Rodolfo D. Vasquez

Dear Friends,


“Blessed are the poor in spirit.” (Mt. 5:3).   This is the theme for this year’s World Youth Day taken from the Beatitudes Jesus preached in his Sermon on the Mount.    What does it mean to be “poor in spirit”?  It is a radical way of living; it is the way of Christ.   It means to avoid the trappings of the culture that teach young people that the key to life, to path way to happiness and fulfillment is to gain as much as you possibly can, wealth, possessions, honor, prestige, titles.   This message is imposed onto them from an early age.   Yet the Lord Jesus wants to reverse our way of thinking.   The key to life is not to gain everything or many things but to “go, sell all your possessions and give it to the poor.” (Mt. 19:21).    How different would our lives truly be, how we would experience true joy, a joy that detaches us from those things the Lord says the “moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” (Mt. 6:19).  

The formation of young Christians necessarily includes instruction and practice in the way of living that is detached from the enticements of the world (computers, IPods, cell phones, cars, etc…).  It is a movement toward living a life of sacrificial love, generosity, compassion and gratitude.   As we begin our new Youth Formation year, we want to focus our attention this year in answering the Holy Father’s call for all of us to learn to be “poor in spirit”, building up treasures in heaven, not on earth.   This begins with true encounter with Jesus Christ who became poor for our sake that we might become rich. (cf. 2 Cor. 8:9).   This encounter with the “Jesus of the Poor” is facilitated through a life of prayer and a growth in faith.   Young people need training not only to embrace their encounter with the Lord, but also to develop within themselves faith and prayer in order to embrace the radical Christian Way of being “poor in spirit”.   

At the start of the new Youth Formation year, I urge you as parents to encourage this growth in your children by fostering an active participation not only in our program, but also in their faith life, which has as its source and summit; the Sunday Mass.    We ask for your help in cooperating with our program that seeks to train in the Christian discipline, not set up useless hurdles or obstacles to climb over.    The standards we set are for their good, not to make life difficult or burdensome.   We ask you to assist us, not seeking loopholes or exemptions, but helping your children reach for great heights.   The Lord called us to greatness, not mediocrity. 

I am confident, that every year as our program develops and grows, that we are making the adjustments to not only be reasonable and serve your needs in light of our circumstances, but also to give your children access to learning what it truly means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.   For Christ alone can teach your children, sacrifice, generosity, gratitude and service to all our brothers and sisters in need.   Thank you for you patience, your understanding and your constant support.   May our Our Lady, Mother of the Poor, embrace us with her warmth so that in her love we can truly become like Jesus himself, “poor in spirit”. 

Fr. Vásquez

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