World Youth Day Spirit in Monroe
Maria R. Bastone
FAITH FESTIVAL—A banner marks the spot of the Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate’s “World Youth Day—Not a World Away,” at Marycrest Convent in Monroe, July 26-28. The sisters hosted high school and college age young adults for a schedule that included skits and workshops, along with Masses and Holy Hours.

For those who couldn’t make it to World Youth Day in Brazil, the Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate created “World Youth Day—Not a World Away,” a youth festival in Monroe that coincided with Pope Francis’ visit to Rio de Janeiro in late July. It marked the fifth time the gathering has been held.

The three-day celebration, held July 26-28 at Marycrest Convent, featured ways for the XX young adults in Monroe to participate in celebrations and events similar to those taking place in Rio, including a Stations of the Cross procession, Eucharistic Adoration and a closing Mass celebrated by Father Thomas Byrnes, pastor of Sacred Heart parish, also in Monroe. The high school and college age youths connected with their counterparts in Rio through broadcasts of the Holy Father’s welcoming address, a prayer vigil and his closing message for World Youth Day.

Keynote speakers discussed topics such as “Go forth with joy and make disciples,” “Be Drawn to Christ/Accept His Love” and “Following Christ, Becoming Disciples.” Workshops were held on Rosary-making and other activities. Mass was celebrated each of the three days, and the sacrament of reconciliation was made widely available.

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