Archbishop Carroll High School in Radnor will host the fourth annual archdiocesan rally March 2 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All Catholic high school-aged students are invited to attend the program which will include live music, workshops, lunch, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, confession and Mass.
Elizabeth Riordan, organizer of the rally, reflected on the theme: “We all say ‘no worries’,” she said. “But how does it relate to our faith in God?
“We are all very anxious as we try to control our lives and our teens today show higher rates of anxiety than previous generations,” said Riordan, director of secondary religious education and youth and young adult ministry for the archdiocesan Office of Catechetical Formation. “It seems the more we have at our disposal, the less confidence we have in God to take care of us, to provide for us.”
She hopes teens who attend the rally would “come away with a deeper relationship with God having encountered him in the sacraments, in prayer and in the Church.
“We want them to know that God will provide for them at home, at school, in life and that they are called to spread the Gospel to others,” she said. “They can bring their friends and family to trust in God.”
About 300 youths from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are expected to attend the rally, the idea for which began with a target group of teens from non-Catholic schools in 2010. The rally has since grown to include all teens throughout the archdiocese including those who attend public and Catholic schools and those who are homeschooled. Workshops were also added to the event.
“We look for presenters who have experience leading youth to a deeper faith,” said Riordan. “Our workshop presenters each have a particular message to offer teens, a message which flows from their own living in trust in the Providence of God.”
Father John Ames, deputy secretary for the Office of Catechetical Formation, will welcome the teens to the rally and celebrate Mass after a host of presentations.
Teresa Peterson, a musician and former retreat leader missionary with NET Ministries, will talk about following the dreams God puts in one’s heart. Father Peter Hyunh, L.C., a self-proclaimed “doodler,” will use his sharpie pen and help youths solve the puzzle of finding their identity in Christ.
Generation Life encourages teens to trust God while forming healthy friendships and dating relationships in high school. Father Dan Lynch and Theresa Hicks will share stories of God’s providence as missionaries with the Society of African Missionaries. And Addisalem Mekonnen, will tell his story as an immigrant, convert and now a seminarian at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.
Father Stephen DeLacy, vocation director for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and Father Chris Walsh, pastor of St. Raymond of Penafort Parish in the city’s Mount Airy section, both served as school ministers in archdiocesan Catholic high schools and have established youth ministry programs at their parishes.
Father DeLacy will lead Eucharistic Adoration and speak on vocations along with Sister Rose Mulligan, I.H.M., vocation directress for the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; Father Walsh is the homilist for Mass.
“The Gospel for that Sunday continues the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus calls all of His disciples to a new level of trust and relationship,” said Father Walsh. “I hope I can help the young people to get there that day!”
Father Walsh primarily wants young people to know “they are loved by God.”
“It sounds simple but too often they are not hearing it so I hope they hear it that day — more than once!” he said.
“A gathering like this becomes a chance to meet with youth outside of your local youth group or parish and see the ‘strength we have in numbers’ as disciples of Jesus,” Father Walsh added. “One day we all hope to be in heaven together, so why not meet now?”
Scott Anthony, youth minister at St. Joseph Parish in York, Pa., will act as the rally’s master of ceremonies. He has worked in youth ministry for 22 years and has led youth rallies throughout the East Coast. His workshop will focus on the event’s theme.
“It comes from Matthew 6:25 where Jesus encourages us not to worry about what we will eat, or drink, or wear,” Anthony said. “It truly is a beautiful treatise of how much the Lord loves us.”
Anthony will use his experience of relying on God’s providence to inspire youth at his workshop.
“I think many teens are tempted to act out of fear,” he said. “All of us can be afraid of not being liked or accepted, about missing out on things, about being overlooked or insignificant. We can be anxious about college, popularity, achievement and a host of other things that take up valuable space in our hearts and minds.
“These fears can cloud our judgment and tempt us to forget that Jesus loves us, that he has a plan for us and that he has our best interest in mind,” Anthony said. “When we put our hope and trust in Jesus, the deepest sense of peace enters our hearts and we rest easy. I want our precious young people to know this peace in their lives.”