Bishop Brennan urges young people to “Do not be afraid to give yourselves to Jesus”


Bishop Robert Brennan delivers the homily during a mass for young people, Saturday, December 4, at Saint Joseph’s Co-Cathedral. The new bishop has incorporated themes from the year of the Church of Saint Joseph, which ends on December 8. (Photos: Bill Miller)

PROSPECT HEIGHTS – The message of “fear not” that Saint Joseph received in a dream prompted Bishop Robert Brennan to develop this thought in a homily for young people across the Brooklyn Diocese: “Don’t be afraid to give yourself to Jesus. “

The new bishop celebrated Mass on Saturday, December 4 at St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral to observe the 36th annual celebration of youth and young adults, also known as World Youth Day in the Church’s worldwide celebrations. It was still his first week of ministry in Brooklyn, having been installed four days earlier on November 30, also at the Co-Cathedral.

Mass organizers said it had been postponed to a few weeks earlier to give Bishop Brennan the chance to celebrate it, and also to mark the closing of the Year of Saint Joseph. They said he eagerly accepted the invitation.

Bishop Brennan walked down the aisle to deliver the homily. He described how Saint Joseph and the youth of today share the challenge of overcoming fear. Joseph, a simple carpenter, hesitated to receive his fiancée, Marie, because she was pregnant.

Bishop Robert Brennan answers questions from young people after Mass on December 4th. He told young people in parishes across the diocese that he admired them for their faith in a hostile world. “Renouncing evil is not something you do once on the day of your confirmation,” he said. “Every day you have to renounce Satan – every day. ”

But, in the reading of the Gospel for Mass (Matthew 1: 20-24), an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, and said to him: “DDo not be afraid to take Marie your wife into your house. Because it is by the Holy Spirit that this child was conceived in her. She will give birth to a son, and you will call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. “

“Poor Joseph,” said Bishop Brennan. “Here he is trying to figure things out and has these dreams saying, ‘Do not be afraid. “”

But, Bishop Brennan added, God’s message to Joseph was an invitation to “meet my son, whom I send to you.”

Joseph obeyed, which was the first of many steps to ensure that Jesus would fulfill his mission of “save his people from their sins ”(Matthew 1:24).

God sent an angel to Joseph and, likewise, sends the young people of today the gospel so that they may come to know Jesus, so that they can become his friend.

“What do you think Jesus wanted more than anything else the night before he died? Bishop Brennan asked the approximately 200 teens and young adults. “He wanted to be with his friends. He wanted to share this meal with them.

“What he told them at the table that evening he told a new generation gathered here at St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral: ‘I call you my friend. I want to be there when it’s a little bit difficult, when you’re scared, when you’re nervous, because I want to be a part of it. This is what you mean to me. And so the message today is to build a friendship with Jesus Christ and to know him, ”said Bishop Brennan.

He urged the young people to look for Jesus in the scriptures, but to avoid being overwhelmed.

Members of the Shalom Catholic community in Williamsburg pose for a photo with Bishop Robert Brennan on the steps of St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral. They were among the few hundred people who attended mass for young people on December 4th.

Bishop Brennan advised them to read one of the gospels. “Pick one and read it like a social media post. Take a paragraph, the one right in front of you, and read it. He is speaking to you today.

He continued, “Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to give yourself to Jesus.

After Mass, Bishop Brennan answered questions and then left the Co-Cathedral to greet the students and teachers on the front steps and pose for photos.

The assembly included members of the Shalom Catholic community of Williamsburg, who provided the music for the mass.

“It was very beautiful to have the bishop with us, to just celebrate the presence of the Lord in our lives,” said Allan Robinson, a missionary to the community. “It’s great to have a young bishop in the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Angel Romero, 15, agreed.

“He engages with the children,” he said. “He likes to communicate with us. I like it about him.

Bishop Robert Brennan greets the young members of his new flock after mass, during which the Diocese of Brooklyn also joined in the nationwide celebration of the annual celebration of youth and young adults.

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