Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 11, 1999
Youth urged to make a difference
Special to the WCR
We have hope because God is bigger than any evil, Colorado youth leader Steve Angrisano told students at Holy Rosary High School on a Sept. 22-23 retreat.
Angrisano lives in Littleton, about five km from Columbine High School where 15 students were killed by two other students in their school April 20. Angrisano told the students about 50 students from his youth group were in that school when the shootings took place.
He shared stories of a girl who was shot to death after she responded "yes" when asked whether she believes in God.
He told of a boy named Daniel who was shot and killed as he tried to stop the killers by throwing a table.
He spoke of the students' experience of running down the hall while being shot at. Three common things these surviving students said were: "We prayed the whole time," "I never knew I could run so fast," and "I was so scared, because it was so loud."
The amazing thing for these students was that they escaped being killed.
Angrisano spoke of the grief and pain caused by such tragedies. He told the students he doesn't have all the answers as to why tragic things happen to certain people - whether it is death by shootings, by car accidents, or the pain of parents' divorce, or someone dying from cancer. There are no easy answers.
But he said that even in the most tragic of events he has seen the evidence that God is bigger than evil. God is able to bring good things out of even the most tragic events.
"You are not too young to decide what you believe in," he told the students.
He then went on to sing a song that challenged everyone to examine their response to Jesus. This song spoke to the heart.
It said, "Thorns in his head, spear in his side. He gave his life so you'll understand. Is there anyway you can say 'no' to this man?"
Angrisano used songs to make you think, to make you laugh and to challenge you to do something so people won't feel so desperate as to cause a tragedy like that at Columbine High School.
One of his wrap up songs was entitled , Go Make a Difference. It was a strong reminder that "We can make a difference in the world."
Some students summed the effect of this retreat in this way: "It was really exciting because he got the message across and things really got to our heart, at least for me. I'd like him to come again." That was a written comment of one Grade 10 student.
A Grade 12 student wrote, "I thought the speaker was excellent. I have never seen such school spirit at a liturgy before. I believe that he got a message across to the students, as he surely got a message across to me.
"Something opened up in me yesterday; it was a weird feeling, a sense of joy. Never had I participated in a liturgy by singing or clapping, etc. But I wasn't afraid of what others thought and I participated and opened up.
"It was also good that he brought up the Littleton situation. That was a good message as well."
Another student said, "I thought the retreat was awesome. It was so great that it brought tears to my eyes and quivers all over. I had a blast and I hope you continue to do this."