By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T
MALVERN – It was a special program for some very special teens. Several hundred of them.
The event was Adoremus Te (We Adore You) a one-day Eucharist-centered festival held at the Malvern Retreat House on Sunday, Aug. 3. Cardinal Justin Rigali, who celebrated the afternoon liturgy at Malvern’s Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, took note of the beautiful surroundings. “Everything in nature proclaims the glory of God,” he said.
“One of the most important things we can do as Catholics is to get to know Jesus.He wants to share Himself with us,” he told the teens. The Cardinal also reminded them that their own humanity was “a wonderful reflection of God.”
Adoremus Te, which is expected to become an annual event, was a collaboration between the archdiocesan Office for Youth and Young Adults (OYYA), Generation Life, the archdiocesan Vocations Office, St. Charles Seminary’s Religious Studies spanision and Malvern Retreat House.
“It’s a cooperative effort and a follow-up to World Youth Day,” said John Tague, director of OYYA. “This is a tremendous opportunity for talking to youth about the Eucharist and we are certainly privileged to have Cardinal Rigali as our principal celebrant.”
There were also several vocation directors with displays at the festival, which probably included some teens who would be prime candidates for religious life.
“It’s great having so many young people here, and hopefully this will be a way to help them discern their own vocation, whatever they choose,” said James Fitzsimmons, president of Malvern Retreat House the host for the day.
It was a full day, with the Cardinal’s Mass just a beginning. There were talks by Capuchin Father David Engo of St. John the Evangelist Parish and by Scott Anthony of Face to Face Ministries of York. There was reconciliation, dinner, Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction.
Alex Kasznel, a sophomore at Bishop Shanahan High School in Downingtown, thought the day was a good time out from normal summer activities. “You’re sort of not in the same place. You get lazy, maybe not go to church as much, not think about God as much. This is a chance to come back,” he said.
Kara Borton, a senior at Downingtown East High School and a member of the Youth Advisory Board of OYYA, generally connects with Mass and gets a lot out of it. She had one complaint. “I’ve been sick the past few days and I’m really hungry. All of the readings today were about food,” she wryly commented. “It’s funny the way things work out.”
The M.C. for the day, John Longo, reflected, “It’s been an opportunity to bring excitement to the teens here in a beautiful setting like the grotto. … it allows them to let Jesus work through them.
“They need to know Jesus is with them. He is there all the time.”