At the beginning of the month, on July 6th, I gathered with others to celebrate the Feast of Saint Maria Goretti. We joined together for the Eucharistic celebration at Holy Family Church on Staten Island, and it was beautiful to be able to have Bishop Peter Byrne preside over mass for us. I was honored to be able to do the reading and the responsorial psalm for mass, and it was interesting how I was chosen to be the reader, and it still makes me smile. The Bishop before mass asked me to do the reading, and of course, I agreed, but the interesting part is that after mass he told me he didn't expect me to say "Yes" because he knows me as the "quiet girl" and did not think I would read. When he said that I read well I told him that I have had a couple of years experience in the monastery, and it still makes me grin when I think about it. It was a beautiful reading, and I feel so blessed that by God's grace I was able to be the reader for a mass in honor of this amazing saint.
St. Maria Goretti, as the patron saint of young people, purity, and forgiveness is a saint to be commemorated by the young people of our time. This young woman gave her life to protect her own purity, which was deeply valued because of her Catholic faith. As a Catholic young adult twenty-something I believe that it is often difficult to be able to stand up for our faith and our Catholic values without that dreadful feeling of the fear of being ridiculed or condemned by others, but it is important that as the future of our Church we do defend her and speak out. We need to have our voices heard and choose words that demonstrate love, respect, and humility.
As millennial Catholics we have a moral obligation despite pressure that surrounds us to not remain silent, and to be able to protect our spiritual integrity. We should not compromise our faith or virtue. St. Maria Goretti provides us with the courage to proclaim our faith and to let the very beliefs that we hold close to our hearts be known to others. She is not only a role model for us young people to practice chastity and bodily purity, but she gives us the inspiration to have the strength to be able to overcome challenging situations by proclaiming the words of the Gospel through both action and tongue. We can shout out loud when it comes to defending our faith and make known the beauty of the teachings of our Church and the incredible amount of love that we have for our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ.