MADRID11.COM REPORT: “Jesus doens't promise us perfect weather”
Archbishop of Vancouver explains a common parable during Catechesis sessions
Catechesis sessions have been happening all around Madrid in many languages. Bishop Catecheists were chosen by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Laity to represent a variety of realities in the church and introduce young people to Bishops they might not have had that chance to meet before. One of those is Archbishop J. Michael Miller of Vancouver, Canada.
BUILDING ON ROCK AND ON THE NAME OF JESUS
The theme of this second day of WYD catechesis sessions, drawn from the overall theme of this year’s event, was “Planted and Built Up in Jesus Christ.” “Building on a rock is to build on someone who says, ‘I don’t condemn you,’” Archbishop Miller said to the youth gathered for catechesis.
Miller reminded the youth that even a solid faith will be tested. “Jesus doesn’t promise us perfect weather... but when the storm comes [our house, built on rock] won’t collapse.” The call to be “a friend of Christ,” said Miller, begins with our Baptism. With this Sacrament, he said, Jesus “no longer calls us servants, but friends. This is the foundation of our joy.” Miller concluded his catechesis with a quotation from Benedict XVI’s first Homily as Pope: “If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing... of what makes life free, beautiful and great.” Miller added, “The Church implores you to give your hand to Christ.”
When asked, after the catechesis session, about the relationship between his motto as a bishop, Veritati servire– “To serve the truth.” and his talks at the Palacio de Deportes he said, “To me, a connection exists between this motto and his Homily on the meaning of a name and of the Name of Jesus. I said that to serve the truth is to serve a name, Truth, and thus to serve Jesus, the person behind the name who saves us.” The archbishop paused then and admitted that he “hadn’t made that connection before.”
Archbishop Miller has been leading the faithful of Vancouver, Canada since 2009. He said the archdiocese is home to about 478 000 Catholics, who represent only about 18% of the total population of the archdiocese. Vancouver has a large East Asian population that Archbishop Miller described as “very urban and very metropolitan.” A “big challenge,” Miller said, are those who have little or no faith. That challenge is persistent in Vancouver and in the whole province of British Columbia. To assist in the challenging work of evangelization, the Archdiocese of Vancouver has 200 priests. Its Seminary of Christ the King, a Benedictine monastery as well as the training ground for seminarians of Vancouver and several Western Canadian dioceses, is one of only two minor seminaries in Canada.
Regarding this, his first experience of World Youth Day, Archbishop Miller described it as “marvelous.” The three catechesis sessions he delivered so far in Madrid, have been very different experiences, he said. At the Palacio de Depotes he spoke to a crowd of between 12 000 and 14 000 pilgrims. On Wednesday August 17 he held catechesis at San Fernando de Henares, in a suburb of Madrid;a decidedly smaller and more intimate venue.
Miller said was moved by the enthusiasm and devotion of the youth he met. He added that although some youth have come to World Youth Day for reasons other than the faith experience, “some of these [youth] get touched by the experience… That’s the hope.”
Evangelist; bishop of the Church, in the line of the Apostles; friend of Christ; messenger of hope: These are all apt words to describe the Most Reverend J. Michael Miller, CSB, eighth Archbishop of Vancouver. We pray for him, that God might continue to bless him in his service of the truth, the truth whose name is Jesus Christ, our friend and our Saviour.