Inspired Diocesan Youth “Sent” – Rally draws 1,000 for rousing day

Amazing things happen when you put 1,000 teenage Catholics under one roof.

For some 8 hours on Nov. 6, 2021 teens heard from inspirational speakers, rocked to spiritual music, and participated in Eucharistic Adoration and the Mass. At the same time, they bonded with each other and learned how they are an important part of the Universal Church.

Judging by the smiling faces at the end of the day the impact was evidently strong. Most importantly was their instant reaction to the question: “How was the Youth Rally?”

The answers were simple and uncomplicated: “Powerful!” “Awesome!” “The Best!” “Inspiring!” “Impactful” “Unforgettable!” “Poignant!” “Overwhelming!” “Emotional!” “Prayerful!” “Memorable!”

The theme for 2021 Diocese of Venice Youth Rally was “Sent” which comes directly from the Bible – “As you sent me in the world, so I sent them in the world” (John 17:18).

Each speaker, each song, each moment encouraged and challenged the young men and women to examine how they are living out their Faith in their home, with their friends, in their Parish and in society. What they learned is that Jesus Christ does not expect anyone to be perfect in their Faith journey, but they must continue to work to live their Faith better. And when they inevitably face difficulty and may stumble along the way, the teens learned that they shouldn’t be discouraged but instead encouraged that Jesus will be there to accompany them. Many of the youth were inspired to the point that a large number received the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which was made available throughout the event.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane told the teens that above all else they must make room for the love of the Lord in their life.

“Allow that to be what fills you. Let that be what sends you out into the world,” Bishop Dewane continued. “And with that love of God, become the bearer of the Faith. Allow yourself to be the instrument that Christ has meant you to be… you have to make that happen. Use the gifts of the Holy Spirit to send you out; but know that it is you who has to then give of what you have to others. May you be filled ever more and learn to give because you have been sent out to communicate God’s Love.”

Bishop Dewane opened the Youth Rally to a rousing ovation from the young men and women. The Bishop said the Rally was the event he missed the most during the pandemic, reminding them how they are a blessed part of their Parish, the Diocese and the Universal Church and they should never forget their place.

“You are God’s gift to this Diocese,” the Bishop added. “You and the young people like yourself bring your talents and gifts, which are a reflection of the Lord. We celebrate those talents and gifts and call on all of you to use them in praise of Lord by the life you live.”

A key point of the day was the large group Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, which refocused the teens on the Supreme Sacrifice Our Lord made for all of us. Bishop Dewane lead the Adoration before a temporary altar on the stage. He took time to process through the crowd with the monstrance, allowing each person to come up close and to be personal with Christ.

Other highlights of the day included inspirational music, games, and a chance for fresh air outside the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center. There were also lots of opportunities to take photos and selfies, many of which Bishop Dewane was a part. Displays from religious orders, the Diocesan Respect Life and Religious Education offices, and a Vocations table staffed by active Diocesan seminarians, were also present as well as several groups selling religious articles.

Throughout the day, the 2021 Youth Rally included an exciting line-up of speakers including David Calavitta and Kelly Colangelo. They each shared their unique Faith journey while also offering poignant advice to the teens as to how they can keep their focus on the Lord. Both stressed that the mid-teen years are a critical time as it is when the tumultuous world is trying to lure them down a darker path. At one point the young men were moved to a separate part of the facility thus allowing talks geared more personally toward the young women and men. The split sessions also included vocations talks.

The speakers were accompanied by inspirational music provided by the Francis Cabildo Band as the youth enthusiastically joined in singing each selection.

The 2021 Youth Rally is one of the largest gatherings in the Diocese of Venice each year. Parish and high school groups ranged in size from 4 to 140. The largest groups were from St. Michael Parish in Wauchula, Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish in LaBelle, St. Paul Parish in Arcadia, and Jesus the Worker Parish in Fort Myers.

Visit the www.dioceseofvenice.org for a link to a slideshow of more photos

2021 Diocesan Youth Rally Nov. 6

Young people from all over Southwest Florida will journey to a one-of-a-kind event to experience a spiritually fulfilling encounter with Jesus Christ – the 2021 Diocese of Venice Youth Rally.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane invites high school-aged teens to join him for a day that offers the Sacraments, music, speakers, a vocations/Catholic College fair and lots of fun! A key part of the day includes a large group Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, which will lead into the celebration of the Mass.

“The Diocese is blessed to have everyone back together under one roof for the 2021 Diocesan Youth Rally,” Bishop Dewane said. “In 2020 we were apart for obvious reasons. Now is the time to bring our youth back together – celebrating our Faith and glorifying God.”

The 2021 Youth Rally is from noon until 8:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center in Punta Gorda. The theme for the Rally is “Sent” which comes directly from the Bible – “As you sent me in the world, so I sent them in the world” (John 17:18).

“The benefit of the Youth Rally is huge,” Joshua Mazrin, Diocese of Venice Director of Evangelization and Acting Director of Youth and Young Adult Outreach, explained. “This isn’t just a yearly event, it’s a catalyst for the Faith. The Youth Rally evokes actual change in people’s lives.”

Mazrin said past participants have shared how the Diocesan Youth Rally allowed them to encounter God in ways they never had before.

“This year will be especially powerful with a time for Eucharistic Adoration allowing each person to come up close to and more personal with Christ,” Mazrin continued. “These moments are a true experience with God’s love. Youth also get to live out their Faith with their friends. Many even make new friends at the Youth Rally. The experience with God is in the context of a fun, energetic event.”

For the 2021 Rally, the Diocese is thrilled to bring David Calavitta and Kelly Colangelo. For inspirational musical entertainment, the Francis Cabildo Band will perform.

Calavitta is a passionate Catholic in love with Christ and his Church and currently serves as the director of Creative and Marketing for Life Teen International. Colangelo has dedicated her life to bringing others into a radical relationship with Christ. She speaks internationally, has appeared on EWTN’s Life on the Rock, and has been a contributor to Life Teen and Chastity Project blogs. She currently serves as the director of Youth Ministry at a parish in northwest Florida. Meanwhile, Francis Cabildo is a singer-songwriter and worship leader from Southern California who hopes to bring people closer to the Lord through his music.

All the faithful within the Diocese are asked to support this important event with their prayers. Raise your voices to the Lord for our Youth!

For further information or to register youth, please contact your local Youth Director, Director of Religious Education, Scout Leader, or Campus Minister.

To watch a video promotion of the 2021 Diocesan of Venice Youth Rally, please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org.

Joshua Mazrin can be reached at 941-484-9543 or mazrin@dioceseofvenice.org.

 

2019 Youth Rally – CALLED BY NAME

Bob Reddy – Florida Catholic

The superlatives from the nearly 2,000 high school Catholic teens who attended the 2019 Diocese of Venice Youth Rally helped to best describe the day.

“Absolutely incredible!” “Amazing!” “Inspirational!” “Awesome!” “Powerful!” “Wonderful!” “Uplifting!” “Moving!” “Spiritual!” These are just some of the reactions from the teens who participated in the Nov. 2 Youth Rally at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center in Punta Gorda.

The theme for the 2019 Youth Rally was “Called by Name” (Isaiah 43:1), which served to remind the young women and men that the Lord knows them and calls each by name to become strong in the faith life.

Organized by the Diocese Office of Evangelization, the day was filled with talks, music, adoration, opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and a Eucharistic Procession through the streets of Punta Gorda. The lessons learned throughout the day were reinforced in the closing Mass, encouraging the teens to open their heart to the call of the Lord and receive the gift of faith.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane began the day asking the youth for a shout out to Jesus. The response of nearly 2,000 teens was inspiring.

“Let this Youth Rally be something that strengthens you in your faith,” Bishop Dewane added. “I want you to leave this day with a heart that is open to Jesus because you are each “Called by Name.” Jesus sees each of you as important. It is through that call that you are made to be a Disciple of Christ – created by your response to the call of the Lord, a response from the heart of each individual here.”

Appropriately, the Gospel reading for the closing Mass was from the Gospel of Luke, the story of Zacchaeus, a tax collector perched in a sycamore tree whom Jesus “Called by Name.”

“Zacchaeus received a gift of faith and accepted the Lord’s call with joy because he allowed his heart to be open,” Bishop Dewane said during the Mass. “You must respond to that gift of faith and act – be doers of your Faith. See Christ within yourselves and in those around you. Just as we know Zacchaeus was a sinner, so too are we. In this we are comforted knowing that the Lord calls us each by name – no matter our sins.”

The closing Mass was celebrated at nearby Sacred Heart Church. A time for Eucharistic Adoration led by the Bishop was followed by a public Eucharistic Procession through the streets of downtown Punta Gorda as the youth recited the Holy Rosary and sang hymns. At the church, to accommodate the vast number of participants, an overflow of youth was ushered into the Parish Hall where the Mass where the was live-streamed.

Throughout the day, the youth were encouraged to take selfie photos with Bishop Dewane and to post any images they took during the day to Instagram with the offer of a prize to two lucky people of Apple Air Pods.

Each participant received a Youth Rally t-shirt and during the dinner break there was time to go outside behind the Conference Center and relax with friends or enjoy several inflatables as well as a climbing wall.

The Youth Rally, which included young people from 9th through 12th grade, included talks from Noelle Garcia and D.J. Bernal as well as music from the Taylor Tripodi Band.

The first speaker of the day was Noelle Garcia, a Catholic recording artist and speaker, wife, and mom to five kids. She has travelled the country for more than 10 years sharing the faith through witness, Scripture, catechesis, and music. Her message was to explain how the love of the Lord can overcome any obstacle or feeling of loneliness that young people so often face today.

D.J. Bernal also speaks at conferences throughout the United States and works with young Catholics in the Archdiocese of San Antonio. He suggested to the youth that by opening one’s heart just a bit, life can be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The young men and women were spilt up for a time to hear specific messages directed toward them from Garcia and Bernal. During those sessions, the youth also heard about how to listen to God’s call and how they and sons and daughters of God.

In the split session, there was a special emphasis on answering one’s vocation in life, whether as a priest, religious, married or single.

Father Shawn Roser, the Diocese Vocations Director and Parochial Vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Bradenton, spoke to the men about his vocations journey. Also present for the Rally were 13 of the 17 active Diocesan seminarians. They manned a booth and answered questions from fascinated teens and were altar servers during the closing Mass.

Sister Gema Ruiz, S.S.V.M., of St. Michael Parish in Wauchula, spoke to the women. She shared a video of a woman who is from the Diocese and is currently working her way toward making her perpetual vows as a religious sister. Religious women from several parishes were present for the Rally and they each had a booth to generate interest in a vocation to the religious life.

The Taylor Tripodi Band performed throughout the day, opening the Youth Rally and then performing leading up to adoration. Taylor explained that she uses her talents as a singer and a musician to glorify the Lord and to inspire others to feel the same way she does about her faith. The band also served as musicians during the closing Mass.

The first Youth Rally was held in 2008 at the encouragement of Bishop Dewane and it has become so popular that the annual event has outgrown four previous venues. Organized by the Office of Evangelization and Office of Youth and Young Adults, planning for the 2019 Diocese of Venice Youth Rally is already taking place. See you all next year.

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