by Sister Margaret McKenna, RSHM.

LOS ANGELES, CA. In a year that celebrates the call of Vatican II, the Western American Province Extended Family organized a day of reflection and sharing around its legacy.

The historical impact of Vatican II was the topic introduced and reflected upon by a theologian from Loyola Marymount University, Dr. Garry. Following her insightful presentation, a panel of students from Loyola Marymount University, Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary High School, and Marymount High School, Los Angeles spoke.

In a truly generational experience, they shared their reflections on Faith and the Younger Generations, talking freely about their ideas, hopes, concerns, and their faith. Their humility and sincerity gave us all great hope in the future of our Church and of the young people seeking to live a faith-filled life.

High school senior Areany Tolentino spoke of the  importance of her faith and of a time in which she grew to value her faith because it created a special meaning and purpose for her life. She mentioned her concern that modern”day social networking can sometimes distract younger generations from building a relationship with God.

All the student panelists were glad to have had the opportunity to share their beliefs and openly talk about faith with people who have lived both pre and post Vatican II. They were impressed by the information shared by Dr. Garry and learned about the changes from Vatican II and its effects on the Catholic community as a whole. The students felt that it was a “humbling experience and an honor” to meet Sisters from the RSHM; it seemed to have given them a stronger appreciation o their schools’ histories and the vision of Mother Butler. Learning about Vatican II and being in the presence of RSHM Sisters and lay people of the Extended Family created a broader view of a life of faith and inspired them to become more involved in and more interested in knowing about the history of the Catholic Church.

After hearing Dr. Garry speak about Vatican II and how younger Catholics responded, Areany was encouraged in learning that it is good to question your faith, because questions lead to answers and a better understanding of what it means to be a Catholic. Questioning and searching for truth/God is what Vatican II did fifty years ago, and its call still empowers us today.

Source: RSHM Soundings “The Power of Now”  Volume XXI, Number 3 Autumn 2013
Sister Margaret McKenna, RSHM, is a faculty member at Marymount High School, Los Angeles, Ca.