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‘God of this City Tour’ helps youth leap into Advent

By Jim Lockwood
Posted: 12/4/2009

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Jon Niven performs “Your Grace Is Enough”, written by Chris Tomlin, at the second rally of the God of This City Tour at St. Paul Parish in Wellesley. Niven and his band are providing the music for the entire five-day tour, a program consisting of speakers, Eucharistic adoration, confession, and contemporary Christian music at various regional locations across the Archdiocese of Boston from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4. Pilot photo/Jim Lockwood

WELLESLEY -- Attracting hundreds of youth and young adults from around the Archdiocese of Boston, the God of This City Tour has been inspiring young people to follow the call of Christ in their lives.

The tour touches all regions of the archdiocese. It began on Nov. 30 at St. Joseph Parish in Wakefield and continued on Dec. 1 at St. Paul Parish in Wellesley. Events were also scheduled for St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Bridgewater on Dec. 2, St. Augustine Parish in Andover on Dec. 3, and the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Dec. 4 with Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley as the featured speaker.

The tour is presented by LIFT Ministries and the archdiocese’s Office of the New Evangelization of Youth and Young Adults. Each night of the tour features a speaker, confession, adoration, and contemporary praise and worship music.

Music throughout the tour is provided by Jon Niven and his band.

Father Matt Williams, director of LIFT and the Office of New Evangelization, said that the tour has a twofold message -- to “rally our parishes in support of young people so that they may be filled and empowered with the Gospel” and “through the gift they are to the Church and their witness, they in turn ignite our parishes.”

Father Williams was the featured speaker the first night of the tour. In his talk, he said he focused on the current liturgical season of Advent.

“Advent is a time to reflect upon the two comings of Jesus and the way we receive the gift of his first coming will affect the way we receive him in his second coming, for those of us who have received this gift of Jesus and have conformed our lives to him, will be the ones ushering him in at the end of time,” Father Williams told the Pilot the following day.

“Young people today are called to be the protagonists of the new evangelization,” he added.

He said he “invited them to embrace Christ,” saying that they can shape the culture for Christ.

The tour continued on Dec. 1 at St. Paul Parish in Wellesley with Bob Gill as the speaker. Gill is a campus minister and theology teacher at Xaverian Brothers High School. He is also a former youth minister at St. Paul’s.

In his talk, Gill encouraged youth to reject three “trappings” of the world -- arrogance, entitlement, and apathy, and instead embrace their opposing virtues -- humility, empathy and selflessness, and agape.

“After you make God the center of your life, the second thing you must do comes to us in the last verses of Matthew. Am I answering the Great Commission?” Gill said. “Once you come into a relationship with God, if it just stays within you, if you don’t reach out and love your neighbor, you are wasting that power.”

“When it comes to your relationship with God, when it pertains to other people, you may be the only Gospel somebody knows,” Gill added.

To illustrate the three vices and virtues, Gill showed examples from service trips he took with his students.