Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 15, 2004
Christian music nurtures spirits
Spiritually hungry OLPH youth embrace concert's music, Catholic friendship
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
An award-winning Alberta performer provided the entertainment, but it was the passion of Our Lady of Perpetual Help parishioner Denise McKay that brought more than 200 people out to the church on a blustery winter night.
With a strong desire to get OLPH youth more involved in the church, McKay coordinated a lively, standing-room-only concert in the parish hall Nov. 7, with Janelle Reinhart and her band One 80, from Radway. Reinhart, a Christian singer-songwriter, performed at World Youth Day in Toronto in 2002.
McKay wanted to reach and inspire the youth who belong to one of the largest parishes in the Edmonton Archdiocese.
It was the first of its kind for OLPH and by the numbers alone, it appeared McKay was onto something.
“We need to promote youth in our parish because we really don’t have anything,” McKay said. “It’s a struggle. We have a mega-parish and kids do phone asking to do a lot of new stuff. We wanted to kick it up and get them involved because the Holy Spirit is really strong.”
The desire is in the kids. Unfortunately, there is little for them to do, McKay said. She hopes the event will be a spark to get things going.
“This is in me to do it, but it’s not me. It’s God in me working through me. It’s a call.”
The goal is to develop a strong youth ministry in OLPH. McKay would like to see a youth coordinator for the parish with a large portion of the kids involved.
Sherwood Park has hockey and baseball and dancing, but when McKay talks to kids, they tell her they want to be at the church and come to similar events.
“We can do music and sports activities, or maybe just a get-together with prayer and a focus on a Gospel story,” she said. “The kids love to talk about God. It brings them closer to God. They want to understand and grow in their faith. They want to become stronger.”
McKay’s daughter Jill, 12, has a great love of music. She also hopes OLPH youth will form into a strong ministry.
“This is good because the music industry can be bad. This is a good inspiration. This is like a youth rally,” she said.
Amanda MacDonald, 15, agreed. On this night, she could not have been happier. “Janelle is my favourite singer in the whole world,” she said. “It means a lot to have her come to our parish because something like this never happens.”
Her sister Jennifer, 12, saw the evening as a chance to get together with others who share her faith. It was a night of strong bonding for her.
“I like it because Catholic kids get to meet Catholic kids. I can hang out with people who are like me. At school, I don’t always get to meet them.”
McKay worries that if a greater youth presence is not developed at OLPH, kids may begin to stray once they get further into their teens. She feels it is her responsibility to act before that happens.
“They should not have to go away from the Church when they are in their teens, and come back when they are adults. I’d like to see them always here,” she said.
“It’s so important they learn Catholic values at a young age because when they get out into the world, there is sex and drugs. If they have that confidence from God, they will know it is not the right thing to do. They will be so better off for it. I think they are searching for the right answers.
“As adults, we need to provide for them. God has blessed us with these children and we need to take care of them.”
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