ATCHISON, Kan. — Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., celebrated Mass for 400 high-school teens at Benedictine College on June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.
The Mass was a part of the Life Teen Leadership Conference, a weeklong training camp for youth from around the country. The conference aims to help teens grow in their faith through praying the Liturgy of the Hours, apologetics sessions and celebrating the sacraments, with the hope that they will become leaders in their churches and communities.
In his homily, the archbishop explained the meaning of his pallium, the yoke-shaped garment he wears over the chasuble. “It is a visual reminder of the passage in the Gospel where Jesus tells his disciples that ‘my yoke is easy and my burden is light,’” he said. “It is not that what Jesus asks of his disciple is easy. His yoke is easy and his burden light because Jesus shoulders our responsibilities and burdens with us. With Jesus we are never alone!”
Archbishop Naumann also quoted Pope Benedict XVI, saying that the heart of the Catholic faith is friendship with Jesus. “As you come forward to eat the Bread of Life, the flesh of Jesus, and to drink his precious blood, may you be fully aware of who it is that you are receiving. In the time after receiving Our Lord in this Blessed Sacrament, may you pour out your heart to Jesus, thanking him for his many blessings and gifts and asking him to help you carry whatever burdens or difficulties weigh on your hearts,” the archbishop said.
Rachel Kausch, an 11th grader from St. Catherine Laboure parish in St. Louis, said she was touched that the archbishop celebrated Mass for her and her peers.
Kausch said she was amazed to hear the Mass described as a wedding ceremony and herself as a bride walking down the aisle to be joined with Christ in the Eucharist: “It was just different, thinking of it like that.”
Melissa Keating is a senior at Benedictine College.