Youth Event – Feast of St. José Sánchez
The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is excited to announce a new event for its Youth Guild. Last year, a special Mass was offered for Guild members on February 10, feast of St. José Sánchez del Río, the Guild’s patron. This year, the day’s celebration has been expanded to include talks, veneration of many young saints’ relics, opportunities to ask questions, and more. (Click here to view the day’s schedule and a list of relics.)
Uniting the Youth
Such community events are important in the spiritual growth that the Guild is designed to provide. “The cool thing about a guild is that you’re a member of something that’s bigger than you,” says Deacon Chris Kabat, a spiritual leader in the Guild, who first proposed the event. “For many of us, especially youth, we’re out on our own, doing our thing, and we never get to come together in a common belief. And so to have a patron saint, like St. José Sánchez del Río, being focused on and specific for the youth, we need to celebrate that together as a community of faith.”
Life of St. José Sánchez del Río
Naturally, the day’s reflections will focus especially on St. José Sánchez del Río, who was fourteen years old at his death in 1928. A flagbearer for the Cristero army, fighting against Mexico’s oppressive, anti-Catholic government, St. José died rather than renounce his faith. “He’s a young boy who lived his faith and was not afraid, and that alone is super inspiring,” Deacon Kabat comments. “The least we can do is say yes, I believe in Jesus Christ, no matter what.”
St. José’s inspiring example has a particular power for young people in our own time, as Director of Communications Becket Ghioto points out: “There’s a picture of St. José Sánchez del Río. They can see what he actually looked like, and they can be inspired by his final words. In the long history of the world, the Cristero Wars were not that long ago. … And so he’s very relatable.” These final words of the young saint, “Viva Cristo Rey! Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!” have been known to make such an impression on Youth Guild members that they include these words in their letters and artwork submitted to Full of Grace, the Guild’s monthly journal.
Inspiring Young Saints
Of course, the Church has put forth many models of holiness for youth, as evidenced by the nine other young saints whose relics will be available for veneration on the 10th. These saints, coming from a variety of backgrounds and historical periods, help demonstrate that young people can become holy in all circumstances and types of life.
Pursuit of Holiness
Helping youth today to pursue that holiness is the purpose of the Youth Guild, and the reason for the Guild’s new celebration. “To give them some catechesis,” says Deacon Kabat, “to give them a purpose, to meet as a family, to continue to grow, to learn new saints, to know that there’s people out here praying for them and wanting more for them … hopefully that’s invigorating for them.” This renewed “vigor” can remain with attendees as they return to their daily lives, strengthened by their spiritual family on earth and in heaven.