A couple of hundred children and young people gathered in ‘s-Hertogenbosch yesterday for the annual Catholic Youth Day. The photo below is an impression of the information market that was open all day and filled with stands of anything from religious orders to dioceses, universities and schools, movements and individual faithful who had something to share with young Catholics from all over the country.

I attended with a small group from my own diocese, and for me it was very much a chance to meet people, clergy and laity alike, I don’t get a chance to see regularly. Some of those encounters were high points of the day. I mention a short chat with Father Harm Schilder, comparing notes with media entrepreneur Eric van den Berg of Catholic Internet portal Isidorusweb, Archbishop Wim Eijk responding positively to me and my girlfriend’s request to bless our relationship, a chance to catch up with my own bishop, Msgr. Gerard de Korte, and a quick hello to Father Roderick, who was recording a radio show.

Bishops Everard de Jong (auxiliary Roermond), Jos Punt (Haarlem-Amsterdam), Gerard de Korte (Groningen-Leeuwarden), Hans van den Hende (Breda), Adrianus Cardinal Simonis (emeritus Utrecht), Antoon Hurkmans ('s-Hertogenbosch) and Archbishop Wim Eijk (Utrecht)

The day ended with a Mass offered by ten bishops and few dozen priests in concelebration. ‘s-Hertogenbosch ordinary Bishop Hurkmans was the main celebrant, and his auxiliary Bishop Rob Mutsaerts was the homilist. The latter proved to be an eloquent speaker, able to engage his audience and keep their attention. His natural emphasis on the importance of the Eucharist as opposed to ‘weak alternatives’ was also not unwelcome. Of course, as is sadly still normal for the big public Masses in this country, there were abuses (and some things that simply weren’t to my taste). Popularity and accessibility still prevail over sanctity, it seems, while sanctity can be accessible without being played down.

Anyway, not to put a damper on what was indeed a very goo day, here are some photographic impressions:

The delegation from Groningen arrives on this cold and drizzly autumn morning.

A room was converted into a chapel where the Blessed Sacrament was exposed all day. I took my photo after the Sacrament had been returned to the tabernacle.

Bishop Mutsaerts, homilist

Archbishop Eijk hands out Communion. Purely by chance, it is me kneeling to receive Christ in this photo.

Photo credit: 1, 3, 4 and 5 by me; 2,6 and 7 by Ramon Mangold for Jongkatholiek.nl

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