by Bob Reddy, (Editor, Florida Catholic Venice Edition)
FLORIDA CATHOLIC – The youth of St. Michael Parish in Wauchula have been mourning for their friend Adrian Rodriguez, 13, who was killed in a crash. In celebration of Adrianâ€™s life and to help the youth learn from their faith and move forward from their loss an event was held Dec. 10.
Organized by Rafael Acre, Youth Director at St. Michael Parish, and Michelle McMahon, the Youth Director at St. Catherine Parish in Sebring, the day featured prayer, Eucharistic Adoration, reflections from Adrianâ€™s friends and a concert by the Ike Ndolo Band, the group that performed during the Youth Rally.
Pricilla Cisneros, 13, who was close friends with Adrian since kindergarten, has had difficulty coming to grips with the loss. â€śI didnâ€™t want to smile. I didnâ€™t want to have fun. I thought if I did I was being disrespectful to Adrian and his family.â€ť
The rally brought out emotions for many of the youth, some openly crying, others seeking hugs and words of consolation from friends. As the day progressed, the emotions changed as they realized it was okay to be happy again.
St. Michael Administrator Father Juan Carlos Sack, IVE, said Jesus is a comfort everyone must rely on. â€śWe are comforted in the knowledge that Adrian is now in Heaven with the Lord.â€ť Eucharistic Adoration was later led by Deacon James McGarry of St. Catherine Parish.
Ike Ndolo said he was stunned when he first learned of Adrianâ€™s death and quickly agreed to the private concert. As a musician he relied on his gift as an outlet for his emotions and wrote the song â€śMighty Oneâ€ť in honor of Adrian. The ballad, which honors Adrianâ€™s spirit and strong faith, will be featured on the bandâ€™s upcoming album due to be released in the Summer of 2012.
Many of members of Adrianâ€™s family participated in the day â€“ sometimes shedding tears, other times smiling and laughing.
While many of the young men and women wore their youth group t-shirts, others wore shirts with Adrianâ€™s photo on the front and on the back, the phrase: â€śGod is great all of the time and all of the time God is great.â€ť That phrase is used to start each meeting of the St. Michael Youth Group.
Jacob Coronado, 16, who was in the crash with Adrian, said at the conclusion of the day, he now has some fresh positive memories to help push away the horrible memories of the crash. â€śThis was awesome. I really got a chance to have fun. We all really needed this.â€ť