Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 9, 2006
Reconciliation changed my life, says youth minister
By BILL GLEN
"There is something within us that longs to be loved."
- Ken Yasinski
"There is something within us that longs to be loved and when we might have messed up, we look for forgiveness," Yasinski said in an interview.
"If it's explained to young people, they can experience the forgiveness of Jesus in the sacrament - and they'll respond."
With the theme I AM Loves Who I Am, Yasinski told about 400 youth that God's love gives us purpose and meaning in life. How God sees us is significant.
"Coming to who I am through reconciliation is to experience God's forgiveness and love," he said.
As an 18-year-old living in a small Saskatchewan town, Yasinski found that he was practising his faith out of obligation. He maintained a fringe lifestyle until he attended a retreat where he was challenged to commit his life to Christ.
"The Catholic faith is not boring or irrelevant. It's a dynamic loving relationship with God. If it is boring, we are missing something," he said.
We must get rid of the blinders that prevent us from seeing God's love and who he really is. His rules are not boring or confining. Rather, they give us freedom and protection.
Yasinski told the group that it's good to let go of the shame. It might seem a frightening challenge, but the sensation they experience in the process is God's love filling them.
He was worried the priest would judge him, certain he would say things the priest had never heard before. But the priest remained silent. To his surprise, Yasinski was not scolded.
"I experienced God's forgiveness. I felt the shame being lifted from me. It was freedom."
During his afternoon session, Yasinski told the group there was an opportunity to receive Reconciliation.
Andrew Papenbrock was amazed to see some 200 kids get into line.
"We had four priests on hand but the line-ups were so long, some of the kids went across the street to St. Matthew Parish to see Father Leo (Hofmann)," said Papenbrock, youth coordinator for the archdiocese.
"There was a doubt the kids would go but we saw their desire to receive the sacrament. They showed us that this is what they want."
It thrills Yasinski to see the kids get the message.
"When the light goes on in their eyes, you can see they get it. It's God at work. It's really exciting to see," he said.
"We are built for holiness. It's God's love."
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