During Lent, the British website “Generation Benedict
” is featuring 40 stories of young people whose lives have been influenced by Pope Emeritus Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. The stories include those from college or university students.
“In the months and weeks leading up to his visit [to theUK], the media were going mad with their anti Pope take on everything. All I was seeing on TV and in the papers was that no one wanted papa to visit,” wrote Becca Evenhuis, a 20-year-old theology student. “Of course the visit was a success. Not only was it a success but it completely flipped my perception of what it is to be Catholic upside down!”
I was at the Mass at Westminster Cathedral and the celebration and prayer vigil at Hyde Park with thousands of other young Catholics from the whole country. Pope Benedict led us in a quiet time of prayer in the evening in front of the Blessed Sacrament. It was during those quiet moments of prayer in front of Our Lord, that for the first time in my life I had a real understanding that the Church is way bigger than I could imagine. I am part of a beautiful, diverse and absolutely HUGE Church, shepherded by the Pope, with Christ at the centre.
Fran, 21, from the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle is currently a student studying theology at Leeds Trinity University.
Expressing the struggles of many young adults, Fran shares how her impressions of Pope Benedict XVI had originally been tainted by secular media reports, and how those impressions changed by encountering him in person at World Youth Day in Madrid.
“Up until World Youth Day, I had no idea who Pope Benedict was other than what people around me were saying (non-Catholic people I might add),” she wrote. “Then I opened my ears and started to listen to the beautiful things he had to say and I became a fully-fledged member of Generation Benedict! WYD was incredible, highlights including: celebrating mass with 2 million other young people, the incredible catechesis at the Love and Life Centre and being inspired by the incredible words of Pope Benedict (on severa loccasions).”
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