Monday, August 1, 2011

How I Got to World Youth Day.....

“He who calls you if faithful, and he will do it” (1 Thes 1:24)
The Lord promises that when He calls, He himself will provide the grace for us to answer his call. We simply have to couragously and generously open our hearts to his call and choose to accept his grace. Before leaving on our Pilgrimage to Lourdes and Madrid for World Youth Day, we would like to share the stories of some of the students who – despite obstacles, difficulties, sacrifices, and adversity – have been “blessed” because they have “believed that what was promised by the Lord would be fulfilled” (Luke 1:45).  We invite you to read their stories and rejoice in the Lord who calls and provides the means and the grace to answer his call, even when it sometimes seems like it might not be possible. However, like our Blessed Mother, the Model of Faith, they chose to believe even in the impossible….“for nothing will be impossible for God” (Luke 1:37). May we respond always with her faith: “Let it be done."

Chelsea Koechle:

“A year ago I became Catholic and was baptized....At first I was not able to attend WYD due to unexpected financial difficulties when my Dad lost his job. I prayed so hard that I could go because I knew this trip would hold great spiritual challenges for me. One day, while at dinner with my parents, they looked at me and asked how bad did I want to go. I quickly explained how much I wanted to go, but that I understood our financial situation and had accepted that I would not be going. Then they surprised me by saying they would do anything in their power to help me get there. These past few months have been difficult for my family both financially and spiritually, but I knew the Lord would provide like he always has for me. During these past few months I have made many sacrifices including working more, giving up things I enjoyed in order to save the money, and controlling my sometimes bad spending habits. In return the Lord has given me the grace to pursue his beautiful heart through his Blessed Mother. I have attended daily Mass for a large portion of the summer, prayed more rosaries, attended adoration frequently and sacrificed my time to pray and offer up my struggles. I have had struggles with understanding our Lord's passion and love for ME while undergoing spiritual attacks in which I was completely convinced I was worthless and saw no point in praying. Thanks to the guidance of my amazing roommate I have been able to overcome these attackes with renewed passion and desire to please and worship our Lord. This time of preparation has been very fruitful for me. I continue to pray for a stronger understanding of the Lords works and desires. When I look back to before I started pursuing my faith I realize how far I have actually come. Though I have much to learn, the Lord has blessed me with an amazing roommate who has helped guide me and inspire me to pursue love unceasingly. I do not feel worthy of any of the blessings I have received this year while preparing for this pilgrimage, I only ask for the wisdom to understand and share this feeling of total happiness with everyone.
P.S. Yesterday I received the news that my Dad was finally able to get a job after more than 6 months of searching, the Lord truly does provide”

Molly McClowry:
“Praise be to God that I'm going to World Youth Day! I give him all the credit for making it possible for me to go on this pilgrimage. I first heard about WYD a little over a year ago and the trip sounded fun, but I knew it wasn't for me. At the time, I was not even interested in the Catholic faith or God in general so the thought of going on a pilgrimage to visit the pope and holy sites did not really interest me. Aside from these thoughts, I knew there was absolutely no possibility of me going on the trip because I had no money and I planned to start my career as a teacher, so WYD just wasn't going to work out with my schedule and job situation.

However, my mindset and desire to learn about my faith completely changed my senior year of college because for the first time ever I allowed the Lord to be a part of my life. As the year progressed, I started to grow more and more in my faith. I was able to come to know the Lord and desired to remain in his love. I became dependent on the Lord to help me through all of my struggles. I dedicated more time to prayer and allowed the Lord to work in me. I wanted to follow him more and more because He has placed such a peace in my heart when I listen to him and do his will. His will is our peace.

In March, the Lord revealed to me through prayer that he wanted me to go to WYD. I took a leap of faith to trust him and say YES despite my financial and job situation. I knew if it was the Lord's will he would open doors for me and make it possible for me to go. And he sure did! He is so good! The Lord is teaching me to trust more in Him each and every day. I thank God for all the graces he has given me to allow me to go on WYD. Life is so much easier when we "LET GO AND LET GOD.”

Mary Fase:

“I must admit that this the World Youth Day trip has sort of landed in my lap. One of the items on my bucket list is to go to or live in Europe. I have heard so many amazing things about that area of the world and have always dreamed of experiencing it. When I was asked about the trip I was more than thrilled. I was fortunate enough that my parents were willing and able to pay for the trip. Some of the preparations have been a bit hectic especially as the trip gets closer but I am so excited I can barely contain my joy.”

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