Residents Resonating with WYD
Pope Francis has encouraged interaction between the young and the old throughout his ten-year pontificate, and the nearly simultaneous events of the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, and World Youth Day, and their dove-tailing themes, gave the pastoral team at Holy Family Home the opportunity to engage the Residents in a prayerful contribution to the United States’ pilgrims journey to Portugal.
In early July, we went to each Resident and explained a bit about World Youth Day, and the Little Sisters in Lisbon’s initiative to have a group of young women associated with our homes throughout the world meet together for a week of prayer and service at the Lisbon Home prior to the official start of World Youth Day. Each province could send two or three young women, and a Little Sister accompanied them from their respective countries. Each Resident was invited to commit to some extra prayer for the safety of the pilgrims, and for their openness to the Holy Spirit. A log was kept of their responses, and then a day or two prior to their departure, a small piece of paper reminding each of the commitment they had made was given to them. Residents unable to complete this on their own had the Sister who generally assists them in taking their meals help them to say a Hail Mary each day, for example.
A flyer was created to send to the pilgrims who gathered at St. Ann’s Novitiate in New York for a few days of prayer and service prior to departure, assuring them of the prayers of the Residents, who while not there to wave them off, would be praying from Philly!
Periodic updates of the Pilgrims’ trip were posted by the elevators, asking the Residents to keep up their prayers. On Sunday, August 6, Residents came to the John Paul II lounge to see pictures of the young women in Portugal.
This was also the day chosen to invite a young woman the Sisters had met at a recent church collection, who had expressed an interest in religious life, to come with her mother to meet the Little Sisters and Residents. Although early in her discernment process, her presence gave the Residents a “boost” and allowed for an intergenerational interaction.
As promised, pictures were shown of the Pilgrims starting with their journey leaving Queen of Peace in mid-July, arriving at the Little Sisters’ Home in Lisbon, interacting with the Residents there, and on a pilgrimage to Fatima with the other Little Sisters’ Pilgrims from around the world. Finally, pictures were shown of the young women at the World Youth Day event, followed by video footage of the closing Mass. These pictures and video clips certainly demonstrated the universality of the Catholic Church! All were pleased with the opportunity to share these snippets from our overseas travelers!