ADAMS: Finding Jesus, Finding Truth - Junior High Youth Rally 2020
January 28, 2020
Today’s youth, known as Generation Z or I-Gen, have always grown up with smartphones, laptops and the Internet. Social media is a way of life and often at an early age. Through Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube channels, podcasts and blogs, their social circle is more than just their family, neighborhood or school community; it’s now the world.
Information is just a click or Google search away. With all that information coming from a variety of sources, how do you know what real or “fake news” is? How do we decipher conflicting information, and how do we know if the information we find is the truth? Even in the Bible, Pilate questions Jesus to what is the truth?
We will explore this question at the 2020 Archdiocesan Junior High Youth Rally, which will be held on Feb. 22 at St. Bernadette Catholic Church in Houston.
This year’s theme is ‘Finding Jesus, Finding Truth’ based on John 18:38, Pilate said to Him “What is truth?”
Knowing Jesus is knowing the truth, but how can we make sure we find it in our daily lives? The rally will break open this question through the keynote, service opportunities, workshops, community building, along with prayer experiences and the celebration of the Mass with more than 800 youth in grades sixth to eighth from parish youth ministry programs and Catholic schools throughout the Archdiocese.
For Beatriz Green, coordinator of youth ministry at St. Cyril of Alexandria Catholic Church in Houston, the rally has become a central part of her youth ministry program for the past 17 years.
“I like to bring our youth from St. Cyril of Alexandria each year to give them an opportunity to build community outside of the parish, be exposed to great speakers, service projects and different prayer experiences that they would not have the opportunity to experience at the parish,” she said. “The rally is an engaging way to bring them closer into the faith.”
So why should young people attend the rally?
Deepen Youth Catholic Identity and Community through dynamic prayer experiences and Mass
The rally provides youth with a broader sense of their Catholic identity in a very creative and fun environment. More importantly, it provides tools to help them grow in their discipleship each and every day.
“Our youth love the high-energy activities and having fun with their friends from youth group. It’s a great opportunity for them to grow in their faith and Catholic identity and have a great time in the process,” said James Carrasco, associate director of faith formation at Sacred Heart of Jesus in Manvel.
This year, we are very excited to have Father David Michael Moses as our keynote speaker. Father Moses is the parochial vicar at St. Faustina Catholic Church in Fulshear and a well-known musician and speaker. He started college at 14 and was ordained to the priesthood last June at 25. He is known for performing a series of “Concerts for Life” that have collectively raised more than $400,000 for pro-life groups in Houston.
Amazing service projects
Each participant will have the opportunity to complete a service project for their community or the Archdiocesan community. Past projects have included making lunches for Casa Juan Diego, blankets and pillows for home bound parishioners or patients in the hospital, hope bags for the homeless, Rosaries for the parish ministries, appreciation bags and frames for our soldiers and First Responders, and activity bags for youth in the juvenile justice system to name just a few.
Fellowship and Leadership
Explore the Grand Midway, which is a series of carnival games and prizes, art projects, and giant inflatables. Play games or try out your latest dancing moves, explore your leadership skills.
The rally is planned by a team from the Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization and Archdiocesan Youth Council members and volunteers.
For Erika Lunkwitz, a junior at Sts. Simon and Jude Parish in The Woodlands, said the rally shaped her decision to share her gifts with the larger Church.
“I attended my first Junior High Youth Rally as an eighth-grader, and I have been volunteering at the event ever since. I had such a great time as an attendee, but what made me want to serve on the Archdiocesan Youth Council was seeing my sister and the other council members’ years later. They put so much effort into making sure the kids felt at home and had fun. I wanted to be part of the team that would give kids the same great experience that those former council members gave me.”
Michael Richmond was a Youth Council Member back in 2003. Being part of the team taught him leadership skills that he uses today as the director of the School of Environmental Education at Camp Kappe.
“The rally taught me the dynamics of how to work together as a team of youth and adults to accomplish something on such a big and grand scale with activities and decorations which went off without a hitch! I was impressed by how something like that, sharing your talent and faith, could bring a smile to someone’s face. It demonstrated to me how we are able to positively influence people by sharing our faith and gifts with others. I can see it in the kids I teach today when they leave the Camp.”
What is truth? In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” If you would like more information about the Archdiocesan Junior High Youth Rally call the Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization at 713-741-8723 or visit the website at www.archgh.org/oace and click on the Jr. High tab.
Randy Adams is an associate director with the Archdiocesan Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization.