The Southern Cross



Hundreds of Young Adults Gather for Annual Mega Mass

By Denis Grasska

ALCALA PARK — Every young adult Catholic in the diocese was invited to attend the fourth annual Mega Mass, and more than 400 accepted that invitation.

The Sunday evening liturgy, which brought together Catholics ages 18 to 39 for worship and fellowship, was held Aug. 23 at The Immaculata Parish. It was followed by a catered reception in the courtyard outside the church.

Patrick Rivera, newly appointed director of the diocesan Office for Young Adult Ministry, said the “evening of spirituality and socializing” acted as a reminder that “the diocese is here to serve young adults.”

He told The Southern Cross that he hopes attendees left with the knowledge “that we’re here as an office to be present to them in whatever way the new evangelization has taken root in their heart.”

In brief remarks at the end of Mass, Rivera reminded those in attendance, “There are so many different activities and ways in which you can get involved. So, don’t be afraid to do that. I encourage you to do that.”

Father Pedro Rivera, diocesan vocations director, presided over the Mass with concelebrants Father Jacob Bertrand, associate pastor of St. Vincent de Paul and St. John the Evangelist parishes, and Father Jay Bananal, associate pastor of Holy Trinity Parish.

In his homily, Father Rivera noted that all three of that Sunday’s readings were about commitment.

In the first reading, Joshua challenges the Israelites to decide whether they will serve the Lord or other gods, and he declares that he and his household will serve the Lord. In the second reading, wives are called to be submissive to their husbands, and husbands to love their wives with the same self-sacrificing love that Christ displayed on the cross. In the Gospel, after many of His disciples turn away from Him because they are unable to accept His teaching on the Eucharist, Jesus asks His apostles: “Do you also want to leave?” Peter replies, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Father Rivera tackled the controversy that often surrounds the second reading. Once they hear the exhortation to be submissive, he said, women may fail to listen to the rest of the reading, which goes on to hold husbands to the high standard set by Jesus Himself.

“I don’t know about you,” he said, “but if I’m being asked to be submissive to Christ and He loved me to the point of death, the word ‘submissive’ changes completely because it is a surrender to love and to be loved completely.”

Father Rivera also reflected on the lifelong commitment demonstrated by those in vocations to marriage, priesthood and religious life.

“Let us think about our own lives and where we are,” Father Rivera said. “Are we lukewarm? Does our ‘yes’ mean yes and our ‘no’ mean no? ... Let us ask the Lord to give us strength to continue in our journey, being faithful, and ... let our ‘yes’ mean yes.”

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