Bishop invites diocesan youth to Martha’s Vineyard for
‘mini World Youth Day’ experience and listening session


By Dave Jolivet
Anchor Editor
davejolivet@anchornews.org

VINEYARD HAVEN, Mass. — It may be on a smaller scale on a tiny island in the Atlantic Ocean just off the Massachusetts mainland, but the event gives every indication to be just as fun, Spiritual and fulfilling as the international World Youth Day held in various countries every few years.

Labeled “Catholic Youth Day on Martha’s Vineyard,” this event is an invitation from Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., to the youth of the Diocese of Fall River to join him on the scenic isle for a day of fun, prayer, a dynamic keynote speaker, Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, Confessions, and a give-and-take listening session with the shepherd of the diocese.

“This will be a follow-up to the listening session the bishop had with diocesan youth on June 27 at Cathedral Camp,” Claire McManus, diocesan director of the Faith Formation Office and Youth and Young Adult Ministry told The Anchor. “At the June 27 listening session, the bishop invited the youth to Martha’s Vineyard and encouraged them to ‘bring a friend or two.’”

The multi-dimensional experience will be held on August 7, with youth and chaperones shoving off on a ferry from Woods Hole, arriving at Oak Bluffs at around 10 a.m. The logistics of the transportation were still in the planning stages as The Anchor went to press. More information will be published in future editions.

McManus also told The Anchor that while the recently-held listening session was primarily just that — an experience of young diocesan Catholics sharing with the bishop their concerns, hopes, recommendations and questions, the day on the Vineyard will include much more.

Father Michael Nagle, pastor of Good Shepherd Parish, which includes St. Augustine and St. Elizabeth churches and Our Lady Star of the Sea Chapel, told The Anchor, “This Youth Day on Martha’s Vineyard is an excellent opportunity for the young members of our diocese to come together with Bishop da Cunha to enjoy being Catholics and celebrating our faith with Mass, reflections, witnesses, song and fun. It helps us to see that we are not alone on our faith journey but there are lots of other people of the same age who are serious about their faith and want to support each other in living that faith at home, in school or in society.”

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“Right from the start, the young people [high school-aged] will be involved in a project connecting them with Pope Francis and one of the topics near and dear to his heart,” said McManus. “We will join the pope in praying for and thinking about the plight of migrants across the world, becoming part of the pope’s ‘Share the Journey’ campaign which he started in November 2017 and ends this November.

“The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has embraced the pope’s call to pray for and help migrants across the world and has established a campaign whereby faithful are asked to walk for migrants with a goal of reaching 24,900 miles, the circumference of earth. We have registered the Diocese of Fall River in the program.

“Once our young people arrive at Oak Bluffs, they will walk three miles from the ferry to St. Augustine Church in Vineyard Haven. They are asked to obtain pledges for each mile walked and we will add those miles to the U.S. total and the proceeds will go to Catholic Relief Services to help those who are displaced and in most need. The bishop will join the youth in the walk.”

After the youth “hit the ground running,” so to speak, they will have lunch and then gather at the large field on the property of St. Augustine’s for fun-filled activities and games.

“Some of the events will take place in the church,” added McManus. “Those will be shown on a live-stream on Good Shepherd Parish’s website.”

The events in the church will include a keynote presentation by Chris Muglia. According to chrismuglia.com, “Chris Muglia is a speaker and a musician who has a passion for clear, straightforward communication. His sincere style appeals to people who are looking for an honest faith-based message that addresses the reality of everyday life. As a husband of 22 years and a father of five children, Chris offers a unique perspective on the ups and downs of Marriage and family.

“His inspiring song-writing reveals the heart of a humble man who isn’t afraid to admit that he sometimes struggles in his relationship with God.

“Chris’ experience of working on staff in Catholic parishes for more than 20 years has gained him unique insights into the challenges of effectively communicating our faith.

“Although a baptized Catholic, he did not practice his faith as a child. It wasn’t until college that Chris discovered his faith and became a fully initiated Catholic. Chris spent 10 years (2002-2012) traveling the United States with Sound Mission Ministries, a lay ministry devoted to renewing the family.”

Also included in the itinerary is Eucharistic Adoration and the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Of course a listening session with Bishop da Cunha will be a large component of the day. Again, the bishop will listen to the hopes, concerns and recommendations of his young Catholic peers. A question-and-answer session will follow.

The attendees will again break bread for dinner and the day will conclude with Mass celebrated by Bishop da Cunha before all head back to the ferry for the cruise back to Woods Hole.

“I feel this event is a terrific idea, especially joining with the pope’s effort of remembering the plight of migrants across the world,”  McManus told The Anchor. “It will help our young people understand that we are a big Church and they are a big part of it. And this will give them a feel of what World Youth Day is like. The format will be very similar to that of World Youth Days, but in a more intimate setting.”

“Having just spent some time with Bishop da Cunha as he listened to them share their thoughts and concerns, this is a great way to celebrate our faith together in this beautiful place,” added Father Nagle.

“We’re still in the planning stages but more and more elements are falling into place,” said McManus. “We have to limit the amount of folks coming to 300, and the event is free to all young people who attend. Transportation to and from the ferry is still being worked out and we will publish further details in The Anchor as they become available.”

For more information on the Catholic Youth Day on Martha’s Vineyard, visit the Faith Formation Office website at fallriverfaithformation.org or call Claire McManus at 508-678-2828.

For more information on the USCCB’s “Share the Journey” program, visit sharejourney.org.

For more information on Chris Muglia, visit chrismuglia.com.


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