World Youth Day Cross

This Friday from 8 until 9:15 a.m., our campus community will host the World Youth Day Cross in the Chapel of St. Basil. Along with the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, we are one of two stops the cross will make in Texas on its eventual way down to Panama City for World Youth Day in January. As a symbol of our trust in God while on our own pilgrimage, this cross travels the world over a span of years as it makes its way from one World Youth Day gathering to the next. It has heard more prayers and felt more hands, tears and foreheads than we can imagine. It has heard songs of praise and cries of anguish, in crowds of hundreds of thousands and alone with no more than a few people.

As Catholics, we recognize the importance of signs and symbols. We know the importance of elements that manifest the grace of God at work in our own lives. We need hope that our sufferings may be transformed through the grace of God into something beyond what we can currently imagine. In such times as those we live in, we all long for ideas and symbols that unite us with those known and unknown to us. This cross is a symbol that can offer us a moment to come together in prayer.

I invite you to join me and others from our UST community Friday morning anytime between 8 and 9:15 a.m. We will have a short prayer service at 8:30 a.m. to pray for a few particular reasons: for ourselves and our earth on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey; for the Church as a whole which is once again being reminded that we are both saints and sinners; and for our youth of our community, who as Saint John Paul II so eloquently said, are not just our future, but our present. There will also be time for you to come to the chapel and pray in your own way and own time. My hope is that you will know the presence of God’s grace and the unity we share in the cross.

About the Author — Fr. Chris Valka C.S.B.

Ordained in 2009, Fr. Chris Valka is a member of the Congregation of St. Basil (the Basilian Fathers). Currently, he is the Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministry at UST as well as the Superior of the Basilian Residence on campus (Keon House). In addition, Fr. Chris serves on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the UST Board; as the President of the Archdiocesan School Council; a member of the Pastor’s Advisory Board at Interfaith Ministries; and a Fellow of Leadership Houston.

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