‘Gathering at the Grotto’ draws community

Moira Cullings

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Denver is building a community far beyond the scope of regular weekend Mass.

“At Lourdes we like to talk about ‘making timeless truths timely,’” said pastor Father Brian Larkin. “Our ‘Gathering at the Grotto’ series was created to show in a dynamic way how the Catholic faith is ever ancient, ever new.”

“Gathering at the Grotto” is an event at the parish that includes food, drinks, social time and a talk given by a guest speaker.

This summer’s talks are meant to follow a shared theme — Catholic giants of the 20th century. At the June 28 kickoff event, Dr. Terry Wright spoke on Dorothy Day. At the July 26 event, Father Larkin will speak on “Henri de Lubac and the Obedience of Faith.” Finally, at the August 16 event, Ted Sri will speak on St. John Paul II.

The two upcoming events will begin at 6:30 p.m. Father Larkin hopes they foster a community of Catholics who are excited to live out their faith.

“Christianity has to become incarnate,” he said. “Rather than being a mere list of truths, Christianity is a way of life, and that will never happen if we just check our ‘Sunday Mass box.’”

It’s important for Catholics to become more knowledgeable as our culture grows more secular, said Father Larkin.

“I hope people will grow to appreciate the amazing depth of our faith, that they find each other on the way, and that Lourdes can become a place of renewal in our city.

(Featured photo by Anya Semenoff)

COMING UP: Synod: Topics from the final document on young people

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After intense days of dialogue and discussion among bishops and invited young people, the Synod on young people, the faith and vocational discernment came to a close in Rome on Oct. 28.

Here we offer a brief summary of the document which was approved a few days before the closing. It contains 167 points and proposals which seek to transmit the Word of God and address the needs of young people throughout the world.

The citations provided are not approved English translations of the document. The document has only been released in Italian.

Sexuality

The document states that the Church works “to communicate the beauty of the Christian vision of corporeality and sexuality.” It asks for more adequate methods to communicate it. “An anthropology of affectivity and sexuality, capable of also giving a fair value to chastity, must be proposed to young people.” To do so, “it is necessary to tend to the formation of pastoral workers, so that they may be credible [witnesses], beginning with the maturity of their own affective and sexual dimensions.”

Accompaniment

Another recommendation asks for better accompaniment to help young people “read their own story” and live out their baptismal call “freely” and “responsibly.” The document also asks for better accompaniment of people with same-sex attraction, reaffirming the “decisive anthropological relevance of the difference and reciprocity between man and woman,” and considering it “reductive” to define a person’s identity based on his or her sexual orientation.

Women

The difference between men and women can be a realm “in which many forms of dominion, inclusion and discrimination can emerge,” elements the Church must free itself from, the document says. It says that among the youth, there is a desire for a “greater acknowledgment and valuing” of women in the Church and society. Furthermore, it says that the absence of the feminine voice and outlook “impoverishes” debate and the path of the Church, robbing it of a “beautiful contribution.”

Vocation

The final synodal document calls for a “true and specific vocational culture” and a “constant prayer commitment” for vocations. It affirms that the mission of many consecrated men and women who give of themselves to those in the peripheries of the world “manifests concretely the dedication of an outward Church.”

It highlights that the Church has always had a particular care for vocations to the priestly order, knowing that it is a “constituent element of her identity and necessary for the Christian life.” Moreover, the Synod acknowledges the condition of the single life, which, assumed with a logic of faith and self-gift, can lead to paths through which “the grace of baptism acts and directs toward that holiness we are all called to.”

“The Eucharistic celebration generates the communal life of the Church. It is the place for transmission of the faith and formation for mission,” the document states. Young people have shown “to appreciate and live with intensity authentic celebrations in which the beauty of the signs, the care for preaching and the communal involvement truly speak of God.”

It encourages that young people discover “the value of Eucharistic adoration as an extension of the celebration, in which contemplation and silent prayer can be lived out.”

Migration

The document expresses the Church’s preoccupation regarding those who “escape war, violence, political and religious persecutions, natural disasters … and extreme poverty.” In general, immigrants leave their countries in search of “opportunities for themselves and for their families” and are exposed to violence on their journey. Many leave with an idealized version of Western culture, “at times feeding it with unrealistic expectations that expose them to hard disappointments.”

The synodal fathers highlight the particular vulnerability of “unaccompanied migrant minors” and see that “it is necessary to decisively reject” a xenophobic mentality regarding migration events “frequently promoted and exploited for political ends.”

Featured image by L’Osservatore Romano