We Are a Team of Winners – a Joyful Meeting of the Young as a Preparation to the International Eucharistic Congress
The more than two thousand boys and girls, who accepted the invitation of the Secretariat of the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) to the event called "Forráspont - a Day with Jesus" to the MOM Sports Centre on the 15th September, were part of a joyful celebration.
It is dark in the conference hall of the sports centre in Budapest, the LED finger lights are glowing like fireflies. There is adoration you can hear the music and the crowd is singing. Young people, mostly high school students, those whom we mostly miss from the everyday life of the Church. They came from everywhere from the country, and even from outside the borders, more than two thousand.
The walls are covered in black curtains in the hall done in a minimalist style. The visuals are of high quality, the lights and sounds add up to the deepening of that rich content, to which - a meeting with Jesus - the young are called as a preparation to the IEC. After the first part - which consisted of glorification, podium talks and a lecture - the young celebrated the Holy Mass with His Eminence, Péter Card. Erdő, and the final act of the evening was an adoration.
The testimony was held by Csenge Gersei, who is the blogger of the Bella Girl Magazine, and was 800 followers on Instagram. A few years ago, the now 19 years old girl had a battle with anorexia. Today she considers her mission to helps those girls, who are in similar situation. She grew up in a religious, big family, and that is how she got to the camp "Word of Life", which defined her life. "I converted and accepted Jesus as my personal Saviour." Her turn towards Jesus helped her to establish a healthy self-image. She described the psychical background of those, who suffer from anorexia, in which the basic feeling is hatred, impotence and the presumption of being hated. The story of her conversion is also the way of healing. She has experienced how big power it has, to be called by God. She realised, that the way of Jesus requires decisions every day. Her entire being was transformed the personal and accepting love experienced in Jesus, and she believes it to be her task today to bear witness to it. Her tool is the social media - the posts, the vlog. Her aim is to have and "aesthetic, trustworthy and honest" site. As a blogger, she is involved with the Bella Girl Magazin (first issure this July), which is Hungary's only magazine for girls, which is not filled with "tabloid-themes and diet-ideas, but it is about values, beauty and the truth" - as the editors declared.
Kornél Fábry shared stories from the life of his own and of his friends which showed what the faith means in someone's life, how he experienced the love of God. The Secretary General of the IEC spoke about their 11-part vlog being made now, explaining the parts of the Holy Mass. Kornél Fábry encouraged us: "You are playing in the winning team, have courage to confess your faith. Upload a selfie to Instagram, proving that you were here. This is also a testimony."
After the break the first guest was Miklós H. Vecsei. "What would we fear for, what would we live for, if not for a dream" - the whole audience sang the song of the band Pál utcai fiúk. The honest speech of the young actor brought up vivid feelings in a lot of people. "I am a searching man, full of doubts. I stumble all the time, many times I mess things up." He told us, that for him the decisive revelation was, that the man as a Christian needs constant self-reflection, and also silence, to understand the other side of the world. "I refuse the Sunday/Sofa-Christians, and until I am unable to bend down to a homeless and help them to raise to their feet, I cannot judge others" - he said when tried to explain, what it means for him that Catholicism is the field of deeds. According to the popular actor the problem is, that today in the world they are trying to give us answers about everything. Opposed to this, the good art rather asks questions, and so the viewer, the audience has to re-phrase the answer. Empathy is a great help in this. In theatres time can stop, and the man can step out of the everyday' s rat race and feel: I am here, I am present, I am with you, I am in a community.
The priest-blogger, András Hodász brought up an evergreen subject: How can we be happy? He put a great emphasis that a lot of people live the Catholic faith as a collection of rules and regulations, of which we are obliged to obey. From another point of view, he quoted from the Bible: "Blessed are those, who live by the commandments of God", and called our attention that we are those, to whom God revealed the secret, to whom God showed the way of life. He directed the attention of the happiness-pursuers to the eight beatitudes. He confronted the "receipt" of these sayings with the ways offered by our age. In his lecture filled with humour he confronted the logic of the world and of the Gospels. The world believes to find happiness in the intensity of sensations and in maximizing of the pleasantness, opposed to the Gospels way - in loving our neighbours. The world says: achieve what you want; the Gospel: give yourself to the others. The world suggests that we only live once and let our desires free, but the Gospels ask you to be in command of your desires.
Through the eye of the world, the beatitudes may seem foolish. From the viewpoint of Fr. András, their completely different came to light. "Blessed are the poor in spirit" - blessed are those, whose heart is filled with only one thing, who can concentrate on only one thing, while the world tries to direct us towards being fragmented. How can be someone happy, who is sad? - he asked the question and showed us, that those, who are not afraid of pain, can be happy, because they know that it is also a part of life. He recalled his life as a boy-scout, which taught him, that the real, lasting experience is, for what one strives, when one can carry the cross for the others.
"Blessed are the merciful" - he quoted and told that - as it is also verified by today's psychology -one needs to forgives themselves as much as they need to forgive those, who have hurt them. "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness" - what is the truth? The world announces that there is as much truth as you want, everyone has their own truth. But the Gospel teaches that our truth is Jesus Christ, and that He is the way leading to the Father.
András Hodász expressed the important of chastity, emphasising that it is indeed a powerful testimony, if someone can keep chastity, or - in case of priests - celibacy. "It shows that you give your life to something, you believe in. And our age needs witnesses, not teachers. People, who transform our lives."
To the Holy Mass all lights were lit, and the installation on the stage changed. The priests, with the ministrants entered in a long queue. The main celebrant and the homilist was Péter Card. Erdő, the Primate of Hungary, and among the many con-celebrants there was Ferenc Palánki, president of the Youth Committee of the Hungarian Bishops' Conference.
Below you can find the full text of the homily of Card. Péter Erdő.
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
- In today's Gospel Peter recognises and confesses that Jesus is the Messiah, and a little later he objects that Jesus shall take up suffering and death. He recognises Jesus through the light given by God, but the tries to dissuade him from his mission with human carefulness. The infinite perspective of God and the human weakness meets in our celebrations too, when we celebrate the Eucharist, when we take the communion and adore Him in the Eucharist.
- Our Hungarian language stumbles, when we have to express this triple secret. But even the original Greek language of the New Testament captured only one moment from the mysteries of the Last Supper. That Jesus said thank. This is from where the Holy Mass, the Communion and the joint Latin and Greek name of the Eucharist comes from. But the Latin usage of the word became solid only later, for example in the third century in North Africa they spoke about the sacraments of the altar (sacramenta altaris), the mysteries of the altar - yes, in plural - but by it they meant the whole Mass. So we do not have to be ashamed by our Hungarian word "Oltáriszentség", because it is also ancient and has a rich meaning, originally it meant all three aspects of the Eucharist.
The Holy Mass is a much later name. We know very well, it originates from the concluding sentence "Ite, missa est". But this phrase comes up not only in Christian, or in religious meanings. At the end of the court sessions, after the trials the used the phrase to mark that the official procedure is now over, and everyone speaks now as a regular citizen. This is true also for the Holy Mass, since it is an official act, the act of Christ and the whole Church.
- Today here we have glorification with music, testimony, and after the Mass there will be an adoration. Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross becomes real, he is present in the bread and wine, we adore him and, in the Communion, we take him. The adoration is not a contemplation without any thoughts, it is not a meditation technique, but an adoring conversation with Jesus Christ, who is our Lord and Master. He Himself said, when he washed the feet of His disciples: "You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am." When we bow down before Him, we can feel that He is the Lord of all, of the history, the laws of physics, the biology, the health, the sickness, the life and death. He is able to give a meaning to our sufferings, elevate us from our weakness, from our desperate situations, and redeem us from our sins. But Jesus is also our Master. This means, when we adore Him, we ask for His teachings, His "briefings", His guidance. And we can read, or listen to the words of the Scriptures in front of the Eucharist, because the teachings of Jesus are never detached from His person.
- But Jesus is also our nourishment. "Take it, and eat it" - He says over the bread, because now it is His body. "Drink from it, all of you" - He says over the wine, which became His Blood. The Eucharist is not a magic potion. In the history of the ancient Church many there were many delusions. In certain places they even gave the Eucharist to dead people. The councils had to refuse this bad habit, and emphasised that a dead man cannot take or eat. But also, from this we have learned that we are not talking about an object, or a food with magical powers, but about the personal relationship with Jesus. This is why it is important, that after the Communion we talk to Jesus, we thank Him for coming to us, listen to Him, ask Him!
- That is how the Eucharist becomes the source of faith life and grace. That is how He creates life inside our souls, in our communities and in the whole world. Amen
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"It was a joy to fete together. I felt it is good to belong to a winning team" - Card. Péter Erdő said farewell to the crowd after the Mass by quoting St. Paul the Apostle. Neither the influential men, nor the world's wisdom or the power makes us winners, but the fact that Christ is with us. "We shall stay by His side, and then we can be sure that He will lead us to Himself and we will have eternal success" - said the Cardinal. During the adoration - with music, songs and silences - the young wrote down their requests and placed them in front of the altar. At the end Rev. Kornél Fábry, accompanied by the seminarists of the Seminary of Esztergom blessed all those present by carrying the Eucharist around.
Kata Jákfalvy, anchor of the BONUM Tv, and Kornél Fábry, as host of the event invited the boys and girls to a great number of other events. Among these were the meeting in Nagymaros on 6. October; the event 72 Hours without compromise between 11-14 October and the next "Forráspont" in a year from now on.
Éva Trauttwein / Magyar Kurír
Photos: Secretariat IEC and Tamas Thaler