The annual Bilingual Young Adult Mass offered at St. Patrick’s Cathedral drew more than 300 young men and women who gathered to celebrate their faith. The celebrant shared words of guidance about how to ask the Lord for spiritual guidance.
“Jesus, my brother, I want to be holy—Jesus, my brother, I want to be holy,” said Father Fernando Real, M. Id., the principal celebrant, in his Nov. 6 homily.
The liturgy, including the homily, was offered in English and Spanish.
Father Real is with the Idente Missionaries, who were founded in Spain. Born and raised in Spain, the priest is based in the Bronx where he collaborates in forming young missionaries. He taught physics at St. John’s University and Long Island University.
Father Real spoke about how one makes special preparation to complete a professional project and attain the goal. The same process, he emphasized, must be applied to realize the spiritual goal of holiness. The special preparation includes daily prayer and regularly reading the Word of the Lord.
He told of how a military general makes special preparations with his battalion before a battle to secure victory. That same kind of attention, he noted, is necessary to reach the spiritual goal of holiness.
Father Real said one must remain disciplined and focused to overcome obstacles that could hinder obtaining the goal. Disciples of Christ must be vigilant to win the battle against evil, including struggling against adverse social or personal distractions counter to the goal of holiness, the priest told the young adults.
Catholic NYC, an archdiocesan outreach to young professionals 21 to 39 and a ministry of the archdiocesan Office of Young Adult Outreach, sponsored the Mass with St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It was the third annual Bilingual Young Adult Mass. A Young Adult Mass is offered each month.
Fernando Torres, the guest musician, is a parishioner of St. Anthony of Padua in the Bronx, who sang and played guitar solo. The music he played, traditional soft hymns and gentle contemporary praise music, set a spiritual ambience befitting the gathering. “The music I play helps my faith journey because I’m able to worship God and lead others into doing so through something I love,” Torres told CNY. “I know that it can be used as a net to catch many hearts for Him.”
A social gathering followed at nearby Haswell Green’s.
Justin Tamayo, 24, a parishioner of St. Monica-St. Elizabeth of Hungary-St. Stephen of Hungary on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, told CNY, “It’s really important to have a strong faith community—something outside of work, with people you have a shared common ground with.”
“I discovered a very strong Catholic community in college (Newman Center at Georgia Tech),” said Tamayo, a software developer. “And when I graduated I knew that I needed to search for this sense of community, where I could pray and worship with other young adults who would help me to grow as a person, to grow in faith with Jesus Christ—in my faith journey…There are so many things in the city trying to get your attention. Ultimately, our attention belongs first and foremost to the Lord.”
Of Catholic NYC, he said, “Their ministry is desperately needed in today’s world.”
Also attending was Vicky Wolak, 27, a parishioner of St. Michael on Manhattan’s West Side.
“It’s really important to have a faith community, because there are so many distractions in New York,” said Ms. Wolak, a writer and copy editor. “I’ve been very fortunate to find a wonderful community here…I had kind of a big conversion experience when I was 15, through my parish and the youth group (Our Lady of the Valley in Wayne, N.J.).”
The youth ministers there helped make her faith stronger, and now Catholic NYC is guiding her as a young adult, she said.