October 27, 2017

Archbishop salutes CYO honorees and ‘teams’ that support them

By John Shaughnessy

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson smiled as he looked out on all the young people, coaches, pastors, priests, families and friends who gathered for the Volunteer Awards Ceremony of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) on Sept. 19.

Standing near the altar of SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis, the archbishop shared a homily that focused on the gratitude and gifts that mark the lives of many volunteers—and the grace of God that people of faith are called to rely on and share.

“Jesus is calling us to enter the kingdom in a certain way,” the archbishop said. “As eucharistic-centered people, we are called to be children of God with grateful hearts. To the extent that we embrace this reality of who and what we are called to be, we are able to exude the Christ-centered joy of the Gospel.

“St. Paul outlines some ways in which we experience this realization. He calls us to be ever-faithful to prayer, kindness, thanksgiving, peace, purity, love and integrity. Of course, we must rely constantly on the grace of God.”

That call is still crucial in our lives today as Pope Francis urges Catholics to be missionary disciples, the archbishop noted.

“In fact, he insists that the Church by its nature is missionary, and that each baptized person is called to missionary discipleship. What does that mean for us? In essence, it means that we must unceasingly be concerned with looking inward for God’s grace and peace, but always turning outward to be present and accompany those in need.”

The volunteers being honored reflect that “Christ-centered witness and service,” the archbishop said.

“You are making a difference in the lives of others,” the archbishop told the award winners. “Consequently, our Church and our world are better for it. Indeed, beyond life’s awards, may yours be the kingdom of heaven.”

In his closing remarks at the end of the ceremony, Archbishop Thompson also saluted the families, friends, pastors and priests who support the efforts of the award recipients.

“Although we honor the special gifts and talents and unselfish service of those receiving awards, it does take a family,” the archbishop said. “It does take all of us working together to make it happen. I just want to thank everyone here tonight.” †

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