Interview : Bishop Frank J Caggiano
Last Saturday was the closing night in the Youth Space, and Bishop Frank J Caggiano from the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York delivered the final catechesis. It was an inspiring speech full of passion about the future of the Church and one which received not one but two standing ovations.
After his electrifying catechesis, I spoke briefly with Bishop Caggiano and asked him his opinion on the Youth Space. He responded: “Brilliant, just brilliant” – He thought that the energy out there that night was amazing. Young people in every diocese need other young people with energy to help them be drawn to faith and encouraged in it. He feels the biggest struggle facing the Church world-wide is mediocrity, people who claim to believe, but are partial witness of faith or no witness at all.
Bishop Caggiano explained that when people are suffering they make a fundamental choice on how to suffer – they can suffer well and view it as a cross to carry, or they can suffer poorly, which is the easier route to follow, and leads to anger / rage and possibly to destructive behaviour. As Catholics we have to remember that God is never closer to us than when we are going through times of suffering.
Bishop Caggiano also feels that there is a disconnect between young people and God because young people do not listen to God. He mentioned that, in the 21st century, people do too much talking and not enough listening, and in a world with so many distractions there is no time to listen to the Lord. If God is calling to us or pointing us in a direction, we cannot hear him and we get upset when we feel He is not talking to us. When young people learn to listen in the 21st century, we will see an increase in faith.
Bishop Caggiano also had some special advise to people considering a vocation as a future: firstly open yourself to the possibility of God surprising you and, secondly, get yourself a good spiritual director that you can open your heart to about your feelings and fears. The rest will follow. God's grace will follow.
When asked how to continue on after the Statio Orbis, Bishop Caggiano mentioned that the faithful should show their passion, their "fire", for their faith at all times. He mentioned passion is more than an emotion and that people may express it in different ways. Bishop Caggiano said that we need to form communities that would serve as support groups, to prove to each other that we are not alone. We also need to continue this Congress in the virtual world until our next meeting.
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