Editor’s Note: In recognition of World Youth Day 2013 (July 23–28 in Rio de Janeiro), we share this reader’s inspiring story about WYD 2002.
As the director of religious education at St. Patrick’s Parish, I took about fifty teens to World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto. We experienced many funny and memorable events; however, one stands out.
We had just entered Downsview Park. It was early afternoon, and the teens had settled in to wait for Pope John Paul II’s evening prayer service.
One girl, Shawn, pulled two photos out of her bag and spread them on the blanket. One was of her older brother, Scott; the other was of his friend, who had killed him in an auto accident at Christmas the year before.
Sensing that she was about to unravel, I suggested we go for a walk. She apologized for her outburst, saying she missed her big brother and felt he would have been so happy to be there with us. I tried to reassure her, but my words sounded hollow.
I whispered a short prayer—God helped me find the words. I asked whether she believed her brother was in heaven. She said yes. I said she should believe her brother was there with us and that she should look for a sign of Scott’s presence.
At that moment, she jumped and uttered a soft cry as a ladybug landed on her finger. Tears rolled down her cheeks as she told me that Scott’s nickname for her was Ladybug.
Later, Shawn’s mom told me that Shawn’s experience with World Youth Day and the ladybug had been a turning point in her emergence from grief.
I treasure many memories from that trip, but whenever I see a ladybug I think of Shawn and God’s healing love.—C. Dague, CN
Just a few lines to thank you and your associates for your dedication to Liguorian and your other publications—the February issue was spectacular!—P. Concidine, TX
I was happy to read Bruce Lewandowski’s February column (Plain Talk, “Is the Mass the New Billboard?”). I’ve been concerned for a number of years about all the “extras” being offered before, during, and after Mass. I recently began attending 7 am Sunday Mass. It’s so peace filled and, more important, prayer filled. I’m able to concentrate on the readings and hear the message and consecrations. It’s a blessed respite from all distractions.—MVOC, MA
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