Address – to the Young Adult Volunteers at the end of the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes 2015, 1st September 2015 (Bishop Kevin Doran)

I want to begin by thanking you for being here. I know you have enjoyed it, but I imagine you were also challenged by aspects of your mission. I will begin by sharing with you some words from St John.

“We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life.

This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. (1 Jn. 1:1-2)

John was a little younger than most of you when he met Jesus. His experience of being loved by Jesus transformed his life and was the motivation for his whole mission.

You might, understandably say: ” Yes but WE haven’t seen Him or touched Him. It is true that Jesus is no longer present in his human body on this earth. He has ascended to the Father, but He is present with us in his Word, in the Eucharist, and also in us who together are his body. That is the meaning of the inscription on your uniform shirts; “Unum Corpus in Christo”

As you know, the care of the sick and those who were on the margins was an integral part of the ministry of Jesus and it has always been part of the mission of the Church, in His name. One can, of course, do good for others without being a Christian and there are many good people who don’t share our faith. What makes our service unique is that it is inspired by the Gospel and by the love of Jesus.

Each one of you has been actively involved in a work of care this week. It may surprise you to think that, for some of those you have served, you ARE the presence of Jesus. Your hands are his, your kind words reflect his.

Now I hope, in all the business of this week, you have found time to reflect on and to be nourished in your own journey of faith. I want to ask you for a moment to pause and reflect on how YOU have seen and touched Him in these past few days. Have you heard His word in a new way. Have you found Him present in Eucharist or in Reconciliation or in a moment of quiet prayer. Have you met him in the faith, or the love or the joy of other people around you.

Will you, like John, go back to your friends and bear witness that you have encountered Jesus and He is the source of Eternal Life?

We sing the words often attributed to St. Teresa of Avila:

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.