Mass shooting calls for solidarity

Mass shooting calls for solidarity

By Melanie Lamarca
Youth Speak News

As a high school student, I’ve always considered school a safe place for me to grow and learn. That’s why school shootings always hit so close to home. Upon hearing about the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, I must express my condolences for the Roseburg community that has lost nine of its members. I am deeply saddened that yet again, lives were lost to gun violence.

But in spite of the sadness that follows the outcome of gun violence, we must ask ourselves how we can be of service to our brothers and sisters who have been directly affected by the losses in Roseburg. God is asking us to stand in solidarity with one another.

As the Portland Archbishop Alexander Sample puts it, “We are one body in Christ, and when even one member suffers, we all suffer with them.” As a community, we hurt together, but we also come out of that hurt together. In times where all seems lost, we must remember that God calls us to help one another through prayer.  Continue reading “Mass shooting calls for solidarity”

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2013 International Festival of Religious Song

Guest star Beata Bednarz and her band perform at the 2013 Festival of Religious Song. (Photo by Caroline Wojdylo)
Guest star Beata Bednarz and her band perform at the 2013 Festival of Religious Song. (Photo by Caroline Wojdylo)

By Caroline Wojdylo

The Catholic Youth Studio (KSM) organized the 24th annual International Festival of Religious Song on Nov. 23-24, at the John Paul II Polish Cultural Centre in Mississauga. The Festival was attended by over 800 people from all over the GTA that came to listen to 21 talented performers and to praise God for the gifts He has given them.

This year’s theme was “Go and Make Disciples of All Nations.” The special guest was an award-winning Christian band lead by Beata Bednarz, who flew in from Poland for the Festival. The goal of the event resonated with the mission of John Paul II — to go and evangelize the culture.

On Saturday, many beautiful Christian voices had the opportunity to perform in a competition. The performing English and Polish groups were either in the children or adults category and were judged by the Bednarz and her band. The winners received prizes such as statues of Jesus Magistrum and official diplomas signed by the director of KSM and organizer of the Festival, Fr. Marcin Serwin, OMI. The following day the winning acts performed once more followed by Bednarz’a climatic performance with her amazing band, whose gifted members have been asked to play for Elton John and Andrea Bocelli, among others.

The successful event was a great way to deepen our faith, give praise to God through beautiful music, and support young talented Christians who have found that the best way to communicate with God is through song.

(Wojdylo, 17, is a Grade 12 student at Bishop Allen Academy in Toronto.)

Station 3: Jesus falls the first time

Adam fell into sinfulness in the Garden of Eden by the wood of a tree. Jesus, the New Adam, falls on His path to Golgatha by the wood of His cross. However, when Adam fell, he fell into sinfulness and did not rise. His descendants inherited this sinfulness, this falling — thus, this fallen nature.

Now, Jesus corrects this as the New Adam by rising from His fall. No longer are we trapped in the fallen, sinful nature of the first Adam. Now, we are caught up in the renewing rise of the New Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ.

As brothers and sisters of Christ, as disciples and followers of Him, we have hope despite our sinfulness because of the New Adam. With His grace, we can rise from our sinful habits or tendencies. Christ rose with His cross, carrying the burden of all sinfulness on His own shoulders. We do not rise alone from our falls and failings. We cannot rise alone from them. Jesus falls with us and rises with us, and He is the one who gives us the strength and grace to rise when we do fall.

In the sacrament of Reconciliation, we meet Jesus at His fall. We acknowledge that He fell while carrying the cross because the cross was heavy with our sins. We come to Him, fallen, confessing all the ways in which we have brought Him down and burdened Him. Yet, in His mercy, when we come to Him as repentant sinners, He picks us up and gives us the grace through this awesome sacrament to keep going with love for Him, just as He kept going with love for us.