SCRANTON – As he left the seventh annual Leave a Mark Mass, Tommy Flynn felt energized and excited.
“I think that Leave a Mark gives a lot of young people in the Diocese the opportunity, some for the first time, to be in a church filled with other young people and to get to socialize and see people from all across the Diocese being involved in something bigger than just their parish,” he said.
Flynn, 22, was one of several hundred people to attend the Leave a Mark Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Peter on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022.
As an active parishioner of both Saint John the Evangelist and Saint Joseph Marello Parishes in Pittston, Flynn says his faith is a sign of hope in a challenging world.
“Having faith and being active in the church really gives young people the opportunity to work through some of the issues they’re facing,” he explained.
The idea for the Leave a Mark Mass came after Pope Francis spoke to pilgrims at World Youth Day 2016 in Poland. In his address, the pope told young adults, “we didn’t come into this world to vegetate, to take it easy, to make our lives a comfortable sofa to fall asleep on. No, we came for another reason: to leave a mark.”
Father Jeffrey D. Tudgay, V.E., Pastor of the Cathedral of Saint Peter, called Pope Francis’ words not only a command and an invitation – but a “little bit of a kick in the pants” – during his homily for the Leave a Mark Mass.
“Pope Francis was very specific about what kind of mark we are to leave. We are to leave a mark that speaks to who we are,” Father Tudgay explained. “Every opportunity, every encounter is an opportunity for us to leave a mark.”
Through baptism, confirmation, reconciliation and the celebration of the Eucharist, Father Tudgay said God is constantly leaving a mark on us, and from there, we must begin leaving our mark on the world.
“The challenge of Pope Francis is a call to all of us. It’s a call to not only, in the abstract, say ‘Yes, I want to leave a mark.’ It calls for discernment. ‘What Lord, what mark do you want me to leave? What kind of mark do you want me to leave? What is the vocation, what is the specific way that I’m called to mark up the world with your love?” Father Tudgay added.
Father Tudgay’s words really touched – and challenged – Kyra Krzywicki of Kingston, who is a parishioner at Holy Family Parish in Luzerne.
“I was really inspired and just found myself really thinking about how I want to leave a mark and what that means for me specifically, in whatever vocation that God is calling me to,” Krzywicki explained.
The Leave a Mark Mass is held at the beginning of National Vocation Awareness Week, a time dedicated to promoting vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life through prayer and education.
Diocesan seminarian Thomas Dzwonczyk, who is currently serving a pastoral year at Saint Jude Parish in Mountain Top, said the Leave a Mark Mass is always a great gathering.
“It’s great to see so many young people from throughout the Diocese and our various colleges and universities present here together, celebrating at the altar, at the liturgy at our Cathedral, and just getting to know each other,” Dzwonczyk said.
Following the Mass, young adults gathered across the street at the Diocese of Scranton Pastoral Center to enjoy food, fellowship and games.
The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, served as principal celebrant for the Leave a Mark Mass. In his closing remarks, he urged the young adults gathered to continue being witnesses to the Gospel message.
“Continue to let the world know that you believe in Jesus Christ and the power of His Gospel that alone has the power to leave a mark in our world,” Bishop Bambera noted.