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Bishop Burbidge celebrates Mass to conclude the Mount 2000 high school retreat

Elizabeth A. Elliott
Catholic Herald Staff Writer

Nearly 1,000 high school students went “Back to the Source” (“Ad Fontem”) at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., during the Mount2000 retreat Feb. 8-10. The students were accompanied by 151 seminarians and many consecrated religious throughout the weekend.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge celebrated the concluding Mass Feb. 10.

In his homily, he thanked the youths for the gift they are to the parishes, dioceses and church. He spoke of Pope John Paul II’s enthusiasm for young people.

“So often when St. John Paul II would gather with young people, he would use the words from the Gospel just proclaimed and say so sincerely: ‘My dear young friends: Do not be afraid. Do not settle for mediocrity. Put out to the deep and let down your nets for a catch,’” he said. “He consistently encouraged young people to let go of fear and to trust in God.”

Bishop Burbidge invited the youths to not settle for mediocrity, but to put out into the deep, through faith, hope and charity.

“As you leave this retreat today, I ask you to reflect upon what is it that the Lord is asking you to let go of in your life at this very moment — a harmful pattern of living, a substance, a relationship, a grudge or something else? Let go. Put out into the deep and allow God to take you to greater levels,” said Bishop Burbidge. “In time of need or disappointment, what thing or worldly idol do I turn to find an escape or some sort of temporary strength? Next time, put out into the deep and promise the first place you will turn is to the Lord.”

He told the youths there are opportunities to show their love for God by the compassion and care they extend to others. “Just as Peter was surprised by the catch of fish, you will be amazed by how God will miraculously use your kind words, generous deeds, service and goodness,” he said. “As you return home ask: Who at this moment needs my charity and attention the most?”

Father Michael C. Isenberg, diocesan vocations director, said for more than 20 years, the retreat has been an occasion for high school students to slow down and step away from the noise of the world with one purpose — to encounter Jesus.

“During the closing Mass on Sunday morning, you could feel the energy and enthusiasm that these young people had during the weekend,” he said. “Without a doubt, the retreat had fulfilled its purpose, to bring these people back to the source of our life and our faith, Jesus himself.”

Elizabeth A. Elliott
Catholic Herald Staff Writer