That was the theme that permeated this year’s Youth Day held at the Anaheim Convention Center near Los Angeles. It served to uplift the more than 7,000 young people in attendance and sent them out excited to spread the good news.
“The theme really celebrated the hope that God gives us — having hope in others and hope in our church,” said Associate Rosy Hartz, who brought 40 teens from St. Viator Catholic Community in Las Vegas to the rally.
Teens from St. Viator attended the rally with their peers from Bishop Gorman High School, led by Campus Minister and Viatorian Associate, Kim Martinez.“Some of our students had never had an experience like that before and were really blown away,” said Kim of the 36 young people she brought.
The youth rally included a main session led by keynote speaker, Dr. Ansel Augustine, who serves as director of the Office of Black Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
In his address about hope, he drew back on his experience serving as youth minister at his home parish of St. Peter Claver, in the Treme area of New Orleans, which he helped to rebuild following hurricane Katrina.
Teens also attended individual workshops, including ones on human trafficking, proclaiming your faith, reading the Bible for a change, and finding God in your family.
The highlight of the day was the Mass celebrated in the arena by Archbishop José Gomez, archbishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles. The Mass and procession featured more than 20 priests concelebrating — including retired Archbishop Roger Mahony — and a rock band for music.
“Our students left with a strong desire to take the experiences back to our campus,” Kim said, “to help share the excitement of what being a young Catholic in today’s Church — really means.”