When we first started dreaming about the "My Generation" Youth rally, in the Fall, it was our hope that many generations would be energized and renwed by the enthusiasm of our young people. They did not disappoint! Not only did several generations work together to make it happen, several generations also got to have a front row seat to the celebration led by the young people. The observations below, came from a university student, who offered their services as a leader at the My Gen Rally:
I had the most amazing time this weekend. I absolutely loved being a small group leader and completely forgot how amazing it is to work with youth. My group was quite diverse and before the end of the first session, I had even the most shy member sharing her experience. And by the second group, she was one of the people to go first. It was a gift for me to be able to create an environment where students with very diverse lives were able to all share their experiences, and even reveal things that were quite deep (such as death of parent, reasons for not going to Church, etc.). This group was so incredible and were not in any hurry to jump up and leave as soon as it was time. The smiles in the hallways or at supper was awesome too. We were able to discuss ways of living our faith or even exploring faith (such as through the Saints), and little transformations were evident; not only in my group but in the larger group.
Personally I knew this experience would be a wonderful opportunity to assist, but the good Lord surprised me in ways I have been challenged. The music alone was enough to get me excited! I love Praise & Worship... there's something about the music that helps to connect with Christ, and truly speaks to young people.
This weekend reminded me of one of my favourite quotes by Anaïs Nin: "And the time came that the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." There were transformations happening throughout. Personal transformations were everywhere, but so were connections being made through the different generations. The Knights of Columbus' presence was fantastic, and their hospitality was amazing! The youth were able to interact with the Knights, very differently from their positions in the Church. Having the Knights participate in some of the events, such as "Don't Forget the Lyrics" showed the young people that these men truly cared about them, and were willing to step outside their comfort zone to connect with the youth. As an MC, Deacon Joe was able to engage the young people from the start, which set the tone for the rest of the event. I heard non-stop praise about the whole event, from the food, to the facilities, to the guest speaker, to the sessions, to the music, to Zumba, and the Way of the Cross. The young people connected to different parts, but they were connected.
"My Generation... is aching for you" was evident! Many people left aching even more for Jesus and grateful for his presence, forgiveness and love. The connection between the generations was priceless too. Many youth find Church to be boring, or a place where they don't feel welcome, and this weekend helped to reconnect them to their faith and the Church (community). Thank you to the "aching" generations for all of your involvement this weekend. And to all of the Priests who showed their appreciation of young people by their presence.
I'm completely grateful for this weekend and this (re)awakening in my life. I was starting to feel torn about faith and knew that I didn't want to lose it, but that's the road it was heading. There are not enough words to thank you all! There were many transformations at that rally, and it all started with the organizers. You see Christ in others and love people for who they are and where they're at. I have no doubt that next year's rally will be even bigger! The word is out... it's the place to be!
God is so good. Thank you again, and see you next year! God bless!