Thursday, August 4, 2016

World Youth Day Is ‘Booster Shot of Hope’

Archdiocese of New York InstagramThe culture’s caricature of young people is not accurate, says Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who has been partaking in World Youth Day’s festivities this week.

In an exclusive interview with the Register on July 29 in Krakow, the U.S. Church leader stressed that while the world often sees young people as selfish and anti-religious, what he sees in St. John Paul II’s homeland is the complete opposite. The archbishop also responded to how the Church in Poland upholds eternal values and discussed what can be done by religions, including Islam, to combat terrorism, in the wake of the horrific murder of a French priest this week. First of all, could you speak about why you are accompanying these young pilgrims?

Well, first of all, I am here because I don’t like to pass up invitations [big smile]. So, if I get an invitation from the Pope, and when I get an invitation from my young people, who I love, I’ll say, “Count me in. All right.” So that’s why I’ve made it a part of my priesthood, part of my being a bishop and a pastor, to try to go to World Youth Days. If you go to one, you are hooked.

I don’t mind telling you, Deb, it’s a lot of work. I go through about three shirts a day, with just the perspiration, the walking — things might not always be on time. So I don’t mind telling you that there’s sacrifice involved, but that’s what a pilgrimage — as a matter of fact, that’s what life — is all about. And if a pilgrimage is supposed to be an icon of life, well, we shouldn’t be surprised if there’s sacrifice and hardship.

In spite of that, you love the World Youth Days; you get close to your kids. It gives me a booster shot of hope. I see young people completely going against the caricature with which the world and society treats them, namely as bratty, entitled, selfish, self-willful, anti-religious people.

I see them [being] extraordinarily humble, prayerful, reverent, eager to learn, eager for conversion of heart, eager to become even better Catholics and more faithful disciples of Jesus. I need this — I need this — I need this, because it’s like a doctor who needs to see healthy people because he has been dealing with the sick all day. It really becomes a tonic for my faith and hope.