Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 9, 2004
Catholic youth suit up for God
Young people challenged to live joyful lives
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Spruce Grove-Stony Plain
Dozens of noisy young Catholics packed Holy Trinity Church Jan. 31 for a day filled with prayer, speeches, music, discussion and dancing.
Some 180 youth from Grades 7-12 from several parishes in the archdiocese showed up for the second annual Suit Up Youth Rally. That's up from last year's rally, in which 140 young people took part.
Between speeches and small group discussions, the teens sang and danced to the rhythm of the music from a live band.
The "Underground Catholic Youth Ministers," a group of four youth ministers from Drayton Valley, Olds, St. Albert, Spruce Grove and Stony Plain, organized the event, which began early in the morning and wrapped up with a dance at 11 p.m.
"Suit up means to get ready for God," he said. "It's like if somebody goes out to battle or to play a sport, you get ready. You don't just go out as you are."
"We decided to call it a suit up rally because we really wanted to address the fact that youth need to approach God and ask him to give them the tools that they need in order to evangelize and to be good Christians out in the world," explained Tina Page, a youth minister from Olds.
The purpose of the rally was to show young people what those tools are, she added.
Addressing the theme and showing the way were three guest speakers: Father Paul Kavanagh from Stettler, Jenny Daigle, a university student and youth minister, and Patrick Stewart, director of the Marian Centre.
Kavanagh, whose talk was called What are You Wearing, challenged the teens to get the tools that they need to go out into the world and to live good Christian lives.
In her talk Don't Be Naked, Daigle spoke of the need to be well equipped with God's armour to live in the world. She said if you are playing hockey you have to put your equipment on. She was spiritually naked once but took the time to stop and ask God for his help to be loving and Christ-like to others. She challenged the teens to ask God for the tools to live in the world.
Stewart got right into the theme and wore medieval-type armour on the stage. He challenged the teens to start doing little things for themselves and others, from making their own beds every morning and organizing their rooms to smiling and acknowledging others.
"Even a smile can affect somebody's whole life," he said. Many years ago a homeless man said, "How are you young man?" to him and he is still talking about it. Young people deserve to live better lives, Stewart said. "God didn't come to die on the cross for us to suffer but to live full, happy lives."
Father Paul Terrio of Holy Trinity presided at Mass for the youth.
Jared Fehr, a 20-year-old youth minister from Olds who helped lead a small discussion group at the rally, said the event reaffirmed and enriched his faith. "The experience was wonderful, and I have walked away with more knowledge,' he said. "It has really been a faith-affirming experience for me. It really makes me want to go out and do more."
Little things count
"I now realize that doing little things for others, even a smile, can really have an impact," said 13-year-old Christina Wolinski of St. Albert. "I'll try to make an effort to be kinder to others."
Jaclyn Gates, a 13-year-old from Riviere Qui Barre said this year's rally was even better than last year's. "If you ever have doubts about your faith, this (rally) really lights up your spirit and increases your faith in God," she said. "I'm really happy I came."
So was 15-year-old Kellie Schramm from Olds. She came to the rally to get refreshed and motivated and got what she wanted. "It reaffirmed a lot of what I knew."