No, no, that is not a typo in the heading. Prend means friend and is a word that we invented during World Youth Day in Poland in 2016. To put it simply, it is an invention that began with our imperfect English. I remember that at that time I could not even properly recite prayers in Finnish and hardly follow people’s conversation. However, out of love, my friends - prends - helped me understand everything. We danced together, got lost together, roamed around in beautiful Krakow together. Those are nice memories.
In today’s gospel, Jesus called me again to be his friend. This is the second time in 3 days.
One day I was having lunch with my colleagues and we were talking about our weekend activities. The conversation went something like this:
After more than two months of silence we went back to the "home" of Our Mother, Stella Maris. This time, we are not part of any Youth Weekends anymore. Andi is abroad for a month of exams, Father Gianni has been here alone, with Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament. That might seem sad: a place with empty rooms, cold and abandoned. The reality, however, is totally different. We had a such joyful weekend, without any arrangement and stress, young and energetic people gathered together in good will. Hey! Welcome to the New Stella Maris!
After having lunch together, we had a short sharing moment. After the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, we “chewed over” Sunday’s reading together in Lectio Divina. What a delicious spiritual food that Jesus prepared for us through St. Paul. The Body of Christ and us, all we should do is to listen our Father.
Finally, it is the time to look back upon this year. We have received uncountable favors from Our Lady, so we thank our Mom for helping us. A multitude of events happened this year and I list some of those that really helped me and my friends to grow in faith.
1. The Youth Weekends.
The One Body in Christ Youth Weekends continued with a wonderful group time at Stella Maris. We learned about vocation in the Spring and we continued about family and social challenges in the Autumn.
People from various places shared their testimonies, lots of providences were given (every weekend we received more than enough food, for free!), as well as blessings and healings from adorations, worship and prayers.
Unfortunately, it could not continue after October, since the use of the buildings was banned by the authorities. Nevertheless, we always stand united as “One Body in Christ”.
Recently we had the October Youth Weekend at Stella Maris, which was attended by around 20 people. In some ways it is "the last weekend", as the Bishop has announced that all activities should stop at Stella Maris by November. This post is a summary of my reflections at this time.
1. Love and Serve
Family means a unity of servants, and it is a place to serve. In a family, we serve each other through love and we offer ourselves to another person. Love is never temporary, contrary to what society promotes nowadays.
Jesus serves us by giving his Life. Love in His terms stands for sacrifice. If we want imitate Him, then we should learn to give and to "sacrifice" ourselves. And learn to be faithful like Him!
Stella Maris. It is a Marian Shrine and activity center. It was consecrated to Our Lady a few years ago and every May since then, this vow has been renewed.
This Sunday’s first reading (Is 55:6-9) is on the difference between God’s plan and man’s plan. Apparently, we plan in different ways for Stella Maris. For some of us, it is a diocesan activity center; for some of us, it is a Marian sanctuary; for some of us, it is a parish. And for many other people and me, it is a spiritual home.
I took part in the vigil at Stella Maris on Saturday, on the Eve of Pentecost Sunday, and the first reading drew my attention:
It has been said that human communication is not very efficient, that listeners only get few per cent of the original message transmitted by the talker. But languages are also tools to proclaim and unite people.
On the Feast of the Good Shepherd our brother Andreas Bucksrucker received his Admission to the Holy Orders at Stella Maris. Bishop Teemu Sippo SCJ celebrated the Holy Mass and blessed him.
Last weekend it was the May Youth Weekend at Stella Maris, Andreas shared his testimony with us as the theme for the weekend was the Priesthood. What did I conclude from Andi’s story? That the Plan of God is always much better than ours.
This is a blog about being young and Catholic in Finland.
Yiran, or Maria Micaela. Born in China but baptised in Spain (2015), student in Turku. Participant of the Youth Weekends at Stella Maris. Cooking, running and photography are my hobbies.