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Good morning or good evening to you as we gather to celebrate the feast of Christ the King this year.

The joy of the Gospel is for everyone, whether you are 90 years of age; or 19 or 9. Jesus invites each person to come to know him. As Pope Francis said, “The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms”.

This is also the day we celebrate World Youth Day at home, every year, in each local church. We give thanks for our young people and ask that every parish would find ways to welcome them and include them in its work and mission.

In doing this, we look forward to the big global event that held in a different country every few years, when youth from all over the world come together with the Pope to grow together in faith, hope and love. The next one will be in Portugal in 2023.

I take this opportunity to invite young people from across our Diocese to join in the pilgrimage that we are organising to travel together to Portugal next year. If you express an interest, we can talk about how to make it possible for you. Your parish and other generous donors may be able to help.

In the coming months, we’ll invite you to come together to learn more about what the journey will mean; and to prepare for it physically, emotionally and spiritually. Don’t pass up this chance to grow in faith and humanity.

In our Mass today, the Gospel shows us the Son of God about to die on the Cross, between two criminals. For Christians, this is not an end but a beginning. However, one of the men being crucified with Jesus sees no hope and mocks him. But the other man has a glimpse of what Jesus promises: “Remember me’” he asks “when you come into your kingdom.”

The invitation of the Gospel is for everyone, whether you are 90 years of age; or 19 or 9. Jesus promises paradise to everyone who turns to him.

+Michael McKenna

Bishop of Bathurst

Feast of Christ the King 2022