NORWALK – On Saturday, May 4, one hundred middle school students from twenty-one parishes around the Diocese of Bridgeport and New York gathered at All Saints Catholic School in Norwalk for the first Middle School Youth Rally. The theme of the day was BRAVE–Be Ready and Vigilant Every day.
The day opened with prayer and music provided by the band from St. Rose of Lima in Newtown. Nationally renowned speaker and musician Steve Angrisano led the participants in ice breakers, singing and dancing to “Lean on Me,” and spoke about how God works through each of us to build one another up, challenging participants to be bold even when it may not be the “cool” thing to do. Emma Ryder, the coordinator of The Face of Prayer and emcee for the day said, “As we were breaking for lunch, one of the participants exclaimed ‘That guy is awesome!’ and then asked me where the line was for confession. It was amazing to see the participants so enthusiastic and enjoying the day within the first few hours.”
The day continued with lunch, an opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation and games led by Rodd Blessey, coordinator of Fan the Fire youth event at St. Rose of Lima, including a relay race and a water balloon toss. Angrisano continued speaking to the participants about friendship and the deep love of Christ. He told each participant that they have special gifts given to them by God and it’s up to them to do God’s work in their unique way because no one else can. He left them with the task of being courageous witnesses of Christ’s love to one another each and every day.
Father Eric Silva, chaplain at St. Joseph’s High School in Trumbull, spoke to the participants about the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the power God has to work in our hearts. He then brought the Blessed Sacrament into the auditorium for adoration. The band played music as Father Silva processed through each row of the auditorium. Rose Talbot-Babey, coordinator of Religious Education for the Diocese of Bridgeport said, “It was beautiful to see our young people kneel and be present before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. It gave me great hope to our young Church alive and well!”
The day’s events were coordinated by the Office of Faith Formation and a small committee of youth ministers including Rodd Blessey, Jenna Donovan and Shari Garcia.