March 14, 2011
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
Christians should avoid worrying about whether they measure up to what other people in the Church are doing.
That was St. Paul's message when he wrote about the Church being one body with many parts. It was also the message Kyle Heimann, from the acoustic rock group, Popple, brought to the first Central Alberta Youth Rally March 5.
"You can't say you're not important to the Body of Christ because you're not like me," Heimann told about 100 young people gathered at Notre Dame High School.
"We each have our own function, so we can't make comparisons. All of us have different gifts."
Heimann continued: "When the finger pushes the button for the elevator, the nose doesn't say, 'I should strive to be like that," and starts pushing elevator buttons.
"When the mouth is eating food, the ear doesn't say, "I should be doing that too,' and starts shoving food in his ear. We all have different purposes, so when we compare each other, we all look like failures."
Heimann and Dan Harms comprise the Indiana-based musical duo, Popple. They shared their comedic, folk rock music and their passion for their faith with youth at the rally.
Jeannette Manser, youth ministry coordinator at Notre Dame High School, was a main organizer of the rally.
The area has been missing an annual youth rally. Edmonton and Calgary are too far away for many to attend youth events. This was a chance for them to associate with other young people who are proud to be Catholic.
"Central Alberta is blessed because we have a lot of youth ministry in the school system, along with in the churches and at Our Lady of Victory Camp," said Manser. "We all work together, and it's been very positive, lots of parent involvement too."
Involved in the youth rally were representatives from St. Dominic's Youth Ministry, both of Red Deer's Catholic parishes, St. Stephen's Parish in Olds, LEAP Ministries, Our Lady of Victory Camp and the archdiocese's youth and young adult ministry.
"We thought because we have such a good group of youth ministers down here in central Alberta, it would be a good idea to put together a youth rally here," said Manser.
Most of the students attending the rally were from Red Deer, but some came from Olds, Sylvan Lake and Rocky Mountain House.
Tara Joyce has attended previous youth rallies in Edmonton, but was pleased to have one in her own city.
"I go to this school so it's kind of a big deal that it's here for the first time," said Joyce. "I find it more relaxing because it's closer to where we are. We can be more involved because it's within our own school."
She said she would encourage her Catholic friends to attend future rallies. She enjoyed Popple, who talked in a manner that youth could relate to, singing humorous songs about socks and Nintendo games.
"They know how to reach out to us because they have a good balance between serious music and funny music," said Joyce.
Shelby Kopczyk, another Red Deer youth, was glad to have a music group from outside the area leading the event. "They have a different culture and present different ways of bringing our faith to a whole new level."
Heimann said the challenge for young people is to find what they were designed for.
"In life, we have a path God has given us," he said. "If we stay on that path and do what we were designed for, when we do what God built us for, what we refer to as a calling or a vocation, it's where we will succeed."
He urged the youth to discern their function in the Body of Christ. "How did God design me in a special, unique way?
"It's hard to discern because we are self-critical, and we compare ourselves to what everybody else is doing."
God's call comes through other people, experiences and opportunities. Not paying attention to these signs puts one on the wrong path.
"You can say that life is like a river, and we're floating downstream. The world around us has this current, and it's pushing you in one direction," Heimann said.
Usually, the way the world pushes us is different from what God has planned, he said. "We have to go upstream, against the current."