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John Paul II, We Love You!

World Youth Day Reflections, 1984-2005 

(3 Reviews)

Edited by Barbara Murray

By John M. Vitek, MA


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World Youth Day and its international gatherings mark Pope John Paul II's greatest achievement in his relationship with young Catholics around the world. Through these gatherings, the pope challenges young people to follow Jesus and to live a life of commitment, hope, and love for all.

With excerpts from the pope's official addresses at World Youth Days past, reflections by youth from around the world, and an eight-page insert full of color photos, John Paul II, We Love You captures in words and pictures the magic and mystery of two decades of World Youth Days, from Rome to Buenos Aires, from Manila to Denver and beyond.

Product details

Copyright: Dec. 1, 2004

Format: Paperback

Size: 6 x 9

Length: 144 pages

ISBN: 978-0-88489-820-7

ISBN-10: 0-88489-820-2

Customer reviews

By Maggie McCarty, Good Shepherd Center, Baltimore, Maryland

John Paul II, We Love You! is an engaging tribute to the international World Youth Day celebrations. The combination of the pope's messages to the young people of the world and reflections from the young people who have attended the gatherings provide vivid portrayals of the long-lasting effect World Youth Day has had on the Church. This book captures the love between Pope John Paul II and the young Church, and I recommend it to those searching for assurance that the Church sees young people as ambassadors of the Reign of God.

By Rev. Len Wenke, pastor of Saint Anthony Church, Cincinnati, Ohio; former executive director, National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, Inc.

John Paul II, We Love You! brings to life the many facets of World Youth Day. Barbara Murray has captured this experience from the perspectives of the young people, the adult youth leaders, and John Paul II. This wonderful compilation brings to mind fond memories and yet stresses the real importance of these worldwide gatherings with young people. WYD has transformed those who have chosen to make the pilgrimage. John Paul II had a true fondness for and deeply cared for the youth of our church. The recurring theme, "All humanity is loved by God" comes to life in WYD. The reader catches a glimpse of this reality. The essence of WYD—to experience a deeper relationship with Christ—is brought to light in these pages.

By Sr. Jude Ruggeri, ASCJ, director of the Office for Youth and Young Adults, Diocese of Palm Beach, Florida; chair of the Executive Committee of the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM)

John Paul II, We Love You! stirred in my heart the awe, the chaos, the emotions, and the magic surrounding each World Youth Day (WYD)—reliving my own experiences as a WYD leader in Denver, Paris, Rome, and Toronto. Rereading John Paul II's WYD messages to young people challenged me to responsibly nurture and foster growth in our young people as I prepared for WYD in Germany in 2005. John Paul II reminds us that World Youth Days are not "conventional rites but providential rites" that energize and call forth young people to live and share their Catholic faith and Tradition. The stories shared by our young people capture the magic of those days. Their reflections of WYD are a testimony to the positive and faith-filled life-changing experience WYD is for so many of them. Their words jump off the page and remind me of the joy and love they share with me and the Church.

Editorial reviews

The Catholic Standard and Times

Anyone who has ever attended an international celebration of World Youth Day knows the chant, "John Paul II—we love you." The gatherings have marked one of the pope's greatest achievements—his relationship with young Catholics around the world, as he has inspired and challenged them to follow Jesus in a life of commitment, hope and love for all.

John Paul II, We Love You; World Youth Day Reflections, 1984-2005, edited by Barbara A. Murray, is a collection of the inspiring words of Pope John Paul II and the youth who attended the celebrations.

If you have attended, sponsored, hosted, funded, volunteered or prayed for, or helped to plan a Youth Day, you may smile in remembrance as you read the thoughtful reflections that capture the magic and mystery of two decades of those celebrations. In St. Peter's Square in Rome, in March, 1985, for instance, a young woman named Melissa observed: "The Holy Father challenged us to find Christ in the Eucharist and each other. He passionately advocated the truth of our vocation—to be God's people and to shine like we are sons and daughters of a King, because, literally, we are."

Following Youth Day in Denver, in August, 1993, a young man named Paul commented: "Many people believe that this gathering was a tremendous event for the entire Church in the U.S. For young people, it was a moment to be proud of their faith, to publicly demonstrate their faith. It was a moment to realize . . . they were part of a community much larger than their parish or even diocese. Standing on the hillside, looking down at 300,000 other young people, you knew you were part of something bigger than yourself."

In a third reflection in the book, a young woman who is also named Melissa commented in January, 1995, regarding a World Youth Day celebration in Manila, Philippines: "The Holy Father continues to reach out to the youth and the whole world in his pursuit of holiness, to build his civilization of love. He was a mentor to me as a college student; I read his encyclicals, his books on philosophy, social teaching, and much more. Now, as a young adult, I am in the midst of reading his biography. His life has been a distinct testimony to the beauty of God's grace, when a single soul hands over their freedom to God's will so completely. Thank you, sweet Holy Father, for saying "Yes" to the Lord, not just yesterday, but every day. The world is indebted to your dedication, and immensely blessed by your gift."

The book of reflections "brings to mind fond memories, and yet stresses the real importance of these worldwide gatherings," said Father Len Wenke, former executive director of World Youth Day.