Archbishop to confirmation candidates: 'God is with you, God is for you"

February 11, 2013

By James Buchok

Hundreds of confirmation candidates in the Archdiocese of Winnipeg, and their parents and caregivers, gathered at the invitation of Archbishop James Weisgerber for fellowship, faith formation and prayer as the young people continued preparation for their next sacrament.

About 250 people met at Blessed John XXIII Parish Feb. 9 with another 160 gathering Feb. 11 at St. Vital Parish. A third rally is planned for an Interlake Deanery church on April 6.

Archdiocese of Winnipeg Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry Erin Kinsella said the events were held to give young people "an opportunity to come together and learn from each other."

Archbishop Weisgerber told the youth gathered at St. Vital that it was likely the faith of their parents that brought them there. "Your parents have faith and they are sharing it with you, but in the end you have to choose. You have to listen, decide and respond but you can't do this alone. As human beings we become like the people we associate with, and if you don't have friends who are disciples you better find some because that's how we deepen our faith."

He described God's plan, from creation to the second coming of Christ, as a play in four acts, with the Book of Genesis as act one. "All of you and everything in creation has been chosen by God, nothing is here by chance," he said. "And on each day when God completed something he saw that it was good, everything God created is good. The last things he created were Adam and Eve and when he was done he saw that it was very good."

"God didn't think of things in isolation," Weisgerber said, "everything is interconnected, like the trillions of cells in a human body, that's how it is in creation. Sometimes we think we're alone and 'it's just about me', but God sees us as one big creation."

Weisgerber said the difference between Adam and Eve and the rest of humanity is "that you and I have to choose to be part of God's creation."

"Adam and Eve wanted to be like God and brought into the world evil, sin and death. This was not part of God's plan but this is what human beings have brought into the world. But God didn't change his plan, he never gives up on us."

Weisgerber said act two begins with the birth of Jesus, "for us this is the high point of the play. We believe Jesus is God become human. He came to teach and show us how God wants us to live, that we are all made for each other, we are all gifts to each other, we are there for others and that's what Jesus was for us."

Weisgerber said in Jesus' death he struggled with evil, sin and death "and it looked like they were victorious. But he conquered death and sent the Holy Spirit. It came to live within us through his church and through the community of his people."

In the third act, Weisgerber said, Jesus shows his power through his people. "You and I are all called to live in such a way that people will know the great plan God has for everyone. We rely on you because you are the next age group to respond to this.

Weisgerber said in act four Jesus comes again. "There's going to be an end but it's going to be a completion. When Jesus appears in the end he is going to create a new heaven and a new earth and we are all going to be with God for eternity."

"Being young today is really tough," the archbishop said. "All you hear on the news is everything bad that's going on." But, he added, "God is with you, God is for you and God wants you to be victorious."

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