Dear Guides and Scouts of Europe,
My cordial greetings to you all! You have come here to Neu-Ulm from all over the country for your national festival. In 2016 you are celebrating both the 40th anniversary of the KPE (Katholische Pfadfinderschaft Europas) and the 60th anniversary of your mother organization, the UIGSE-FSE.
These are figures you may be proud of. But what is even more noteworthy is your incessant faithfulness to the Church and to Him who founded it, i.e. Jesus-Christ. You are known for this faithfulness; it’s your “trademark”, which fills me with great joy! It’s what counts: to be loyal to God and to the Church, with courage and self-confidence, in times that dispel the Christian religion, also and especially when we are attacked because of it.
In the last book of the Bible, the Revelation by saint John, God sends an angel to tell the community of Philadelphia that remained faithful in difficult times: « I know your works (behold, I have left an open door before you, which no one can close). You have limited strength, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name… Because you have kept my message of endurance, I will keep you safe in the time of trial… » (Revelation 3,8.10a).
This wonderful promise of God still applies today, dear guides and scouts. God opens a door to his faithful that no one can close. He can see our efforts to stick to His word and to His commandments and to not deny Him even when others laugh at us because we belong to Him and to His Church or also to scouting. Remain faithful, keep on holding on to Him. He and His Church need you. For nothing can move people’s hearts better than the brave and joyful testimony of youth showing that the Lord’s joy is their strength (see Neh 8,10) and that it is great to be a Catholic. There you have a true mission, in particular among the youth of your age! I know it is not always easy. But don’t be afraid! God never abandons his friends. May he reward abundantly your faithfulness!
Then, I would like to ask you for something else. Take advantage of the Holy Year of Mercy to grow more and more in your love for Jesus-Christ! How can we do that? You may be asking. First of all, there is the sacrament of Confession that one could also call the sacrament of Divine Mercy. Enjoy receiving this sacrament, and regularly. In this sacrament, God is longing for you, with the desire of holding you in His arms ever again, of taking away your burdens, of comforting you, of healing you and giving you courage, when you no longer know what to do.
There’s still another sacrament in which you may know divine Mercy in all its depth: the sacrament of the Eucharist. Go to Mass often, and take part in the Eucharistic adoration as often and as long as you possibly can. Blessed Mother Teresa (who will be canonised on September 4th, 2016) once said: “When we started with daily adoration (in our community), our love for Christ became more intimate, our love for one another more understanding, our love for the poor more compassionate and the number of calls doubled (…) The time we spend in our daily exchange with God is the most valuable time of our whole day.”
You too, dear guides and scouts, go and experience it: if you present yourself regularly before Jesus in the Eucharist or even better, if you host him regularly in your heart by taking Holy Communion, He shall draw you ever more to His heart and He will change you in depth through His love and mercy. Your precious commitment in the Nightfever initiative in the Augsburg cathedral since 2008 has shown me that many of you appreciate the Eucharistic adoration and confession greatly. Please receive my explicit and cordial thanks for this service!
May God bless you and be with you!
United with you through prayer,
Auxiliary bishop in Augsburg