Youth Rally Encourages Teens to Be Courageous for Christ

NEWTOWN—The theme of this year’s Fan the Fire Youth Rally, taking place at St. Rose of Lima Parish on August 11th, was “Be Courageous.”

“We live in a world that has very little time for God or Jesus,” Bishop Frank J. Caggiano said, addressing the teens during his homily at Mass, “Jesus is going to ask you and I to stand up for the truth and to say it clearly in word and action…to be His hands and feet in the world… to go where others will not want to go, to be missionaries in the world,” bishop called the faithful to action, “For wherever there is love there is God, as St. John tells us.”

In his homily, Bishop Frank proposed to teens a question, explaining that the answer to the question would make all the difference for them: “What am I willing to pay as a price to follow Jesus?”

Expanding on that question, bishop asked, “How far are you and I willing to walk with Jesus to remain faithful to Him?”

He explained that the more we walk with Jesus the more He asks of us and that this will be challenging, so much greater the need for the gift of courage.

“Courage is the one gift God has already given you in Baptism and in Confirmation…the gift of the Holy Spirit lying in your heart,” bishop said.

Bishop Frank also gave examples of Saints who were courageous in giving their lives for the sake of Christ, both St. Lawrence and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, explaining that although we may not be asked to give our lives, we will be asked to give a lot.

Fan the Fire Mass | Photos by Amy Mortensen

He explained, “It will be Christ’s Spirit that will allow you to do what you could never imagine doing before, and that, my friends, is the gift of courage- to persevere in what you and I know is right even when it hurts.”

The rest of the day included worship music by the St. Rose Worship Band, opportunities for confession and adoration throughout the day, a service project provided by the Catholic Service Corps, the Rosary led by members of the High School Apostles, a comedy performance by Nun and Nunner, and a holy hour to wrap the evening up in prayer.

National Catholic speaker Chris Padgett gave keynotes in both the afternoon and evening, during which he spoke to teens about Pope Francis’ call to be missionary disciples, evangelizing through their lives and how they can live this out.

Breakout workshop sessions provided teens with the opportunity to hear from different speakers about a variety of topics including: being made for life-giving love, Marian devotion and the example of Mary, the truth and beauty of the Catholic Church, and how Jesus calls us to love ourselves as He loves us.

As Bishop Frank’s observed about the gathered in his homily, “I am looking into the faces of young women and men who are destined to be great, courageous disciples for Jesus Christ.”

“Because you, in the Spirit, can be that missionary, you can do what the Lord is asking…because He will help you every step of the way,” bishop encouraged teens.

“One day, years from now, there will be young people sitting in this church remembering your name because of the courageous faith you have in Jesus,” said bishop, sending off the teens off to the rest of their transformative and powerful day at Fan the Fire.

Fan the Fire Service Project | Photos by Amy Mortensen