Thousands of Catholic students gather for Mass and winter coat drive in Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minn., Oct 11, 2018 / 03:13 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Thousands of young Catholic students gathered for Mass, music, and a winter clothing drive on Wednesday morning in a stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Drawing children from 79 Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, 12,000 students attended the second annual Mass of the Holy Spirit on Oct 10.

In celebration of the new school year, the students assembled to participate in worship and listen to Christian music like the rock group Sonar and rapper Connor Flanagan. The event also included Coats for Kids, a donation drive aiming to collect 12,000 winter coats for Minnesota kids.

The Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Bernard Hebda of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. In his homily, he encouraged all the students to put their faith into practice.

“Every day in every one of our excellent Catholic schools, we have the chance to practice. We practice what it means to be like Christ, to live as Christ lived, to see the world through his eyes,” Hebda said.

The archbishop began his sermon recalling the victory of the Minnesota Vikings over the New Orleans Saints in a football game earlier this year. The bishop said that in that game, when quarterback Case Keenum threw a 61-yard game-winning pass to wide receiver Stefon Diggs, the play was not a random miracle but the result of practice and careful planning.

He encouraged the students to be studious but also to live the faith with action. He further added that this may be achieved by pursuing little moments with great love.

“Our schools are great places for learning the drills, for sharpening the skills, for building our stamina, for learning what true Christ-like success feels like so that on game day we are going to be ready to step up and put our faith into action,” he said.

“It might be something as small as a smile to a classmate who’s down, or sharing some of our Doritos or broccoli at lunch. It might be helping a new student feel at home in your school, when they struggle with English because they have just arrived in our country.”

He said it may even be simple appreciative gestures to the teachers, lunch ladies, and other faculty members of the school, and he then led the students in an applause for school employees.

This Christ-like faith takes practice, he said, but it also involves the preparation of a coach, noting the instruction and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

“It’s the Holy Spirit, who like the best coach, breathes life into all our efforts, who inspires us to do our best, to practice what it means to be a good Christian, and to put our Catholic values into action,” he said.

At the end of his homily, Archbishop Hebda led the congregation of students to repeat after him the following prayer to the Holy Spirit, asking for greater sanctification.

“Oh Holy Spirit, come into my life and school this year, help me become the loving person I was created to be. I want to be more like Christ and to put my faith into action. Prepare me for greatness, help me to know Jesus and develop my God given talents, and then use me as you will so that I might serve my brothers and sisters, and always give glory to you, to Jesus, and to our Heavenly Father.”

 

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