Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
October 22, 2001
Youth 'lifted up' at rally
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — The archdiocesan youth rally was again an explosion of fun and faith as hundreds of loud and enthusiastic teenagers from across the Edmonton Archdiocese gathered for the annual event.
About 600 youth in Grades 7 to 12 filled the gym of Archbishop O'Leary High School for a day of prayer, song and dance.
"God Lifts Me Up," was the theme of the event, which included talks and singing by New Brunswick storyteller Judy McAloon, music by Living Communion as well as discussions, prayer and games.
Archbishop Thomas Collins celebrated Mass for the teens who participated in the celebration as readers, altar servers, ministers of the word and singers. Then the youngsters burned the last of their energies dancing until 11 p.m., when the event closed with a prayer.
"We thought the day went really well and we are looking forward to holding it again next year," said organizer Nicole Brown, assistant coordinator of youth ministry. "Everyone had a great time."
And that's the main purpose of the event, Brown said. "It's to bring young people together to share their faith and have fun. It's for them to just celebrate being Catholic together in a really fun way."
Many of the youngsters do not participate in other activities throughout the year "but they come back here again and again because they meet friends here and have fun," Brown noted. "So it's a way to meet people and to have a lot of fun."
"God can lift us up," said McAloon, who shared several stories and personal reflections with the youngsters about times in her life when she was down and God lifted her up. She also played the guitar and sang for her young audience, who sang along.
Living Communion, a five-member Catholic band from Radway, also helped to pump up the youngsters with upbeat, popular music.
After each of McAloon's sessions, participants broke up into smaller groups to reflect on her message, to play games and do other interactive activities.
"This is a way for (young) people to explore their faith a bit but mainly to have a good time and to know that being Catholic is fun," Brown said. "It's to really celebrate being a young person in church."
Young people came to the rally from all parts of the archdiocese, including Red Deer, Hinton, Vegreville, Rimbey and St. Albert. Some came from outside the archdiocese, from places such as Bonnyville, Cold Lake, Calgary and Yellowknife.
Angela Ouillete, 13, came from Rimbey to take part in the rally. "I came because I attended last year and it was such an awesome experience," she said. "I feel at home here among other young people who share my faith."
Janelle Thiel, also 13, made the trek from Vegreville to the rally to "have a good time and be around other young Catholics." The trip was worthwhile, the youngster said. "I've met many new friends, including Angela, and I've had a really fun time. I can be myself here."
Said Ouillete: "I would definitely recommend this rally to other teenagers. It's an awesome experience. They don't know what they are missing."
Jesse Preston, 12, one of six young people who came from Bonnyville, learned about the rally from a friend and decided to give it a try. "He said it was fun and it's been fun so far," he said. "I've enjoyed the games and the discussions. I think it is worthwhile."
Sian Ramsden and Tegan Rieger, both from St. Albert, were glad they attended. "Everybody is really friendly here," Ramsden said. "I'm really happy I came."
Rieger said she enjoyed McAloon's stories about God and learned that "God loves everybody equally, regardless of wealth and talent."
Rally participants were asked to put down their gifts and talents on a piece of paper and Ramsden and Rieger, both 15, discovered that they had a talent for dancing and fashion design.
"We learned that everybody is talented," Rieger said. "We both had a lot of fun and definitely would come next year."
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.