Christians who are too serious and gloomy have the Holy Spirit missing from their lives, Pope Francis said repeatedly.
That’s why it’s so good to see the success of Kenrick-Glennon Days, a summer camp for boys held at the seminary in Shrewsbury since 1999. The camp aids boys in vocational discernment and offers a balance of play and prayer, with fun activities ranging from playing Catholic Jeopardy to bursting water balloons.
A lot of fun is found at our Catholic parishes, agencies and programs. “Fun time and a worthy cause” is a phrase repeated many times in describing many events they sponsor. As a lead-up to the World Meeting of Families in Ireland in August, the archdiocese will host Papa Palooza at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary on Saturday, July 28, from 2 to 7:30 p.m. The event will include family games, Mass, dinner and an outdoor concert. The initial Papa Palooza, in 2015, was a hit for families playing a version of Hungry, Hungry Hippo; Hula-palooza; popabaloonza; and more.
Pope Francis has written much about the topic, including “The Joy of the Gospel,” “Happiness in This Life,” “The Name of God Is Mercy” and “Dear Pope Francis: The Pope Answers Letters from Children Around the World.”
In a homily in 2016, Pope Francis said that no Christian can exist without joy. Christians live in joy and amazement because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“The Christian identity card is joy, the Gospel’s joy, the joy of having been chosen by Jesus, saved by Jesus, regenerated by Jesus; the joy of that hope that Jesus is waiting for us, the joy that — even with the crosses and sufferings we bear in this life — is expressed in another way, which is peace in the certainty that Jesus accompanies us, is with us,” he said.
Joy is linked with kindness as well. People who nourish kindness in their heart find “profound joy even in the midst of difficulties and misunderstandings,” Pope Francis stated.
So now you have it — permission to be joyous. If you aren’t already doing so, bring that joy to your parish, your ministry and everyone you meet.