The 2015 Christian Service 4Life rally on Nov. 4 began with a special video message from Darryl Sutter, head coach of the Los Angeles Kings, to the thousands of students representing Catholic middle schools and high schools from across the archdiocese who filled the USC Galen Center in Los Angeles.

Seated beside his son Christopher, who has Down syndrome, Sutter and Christopher smiled happily at one another, and together proudly proclaimed into the camera, “We are champions for life!” And the crowd cheered their approval.

An estimated 8,000 students attended the recent 3rd-annual Christian Service 4LIFE gathering, which featured special guests and activities all celebrating the sanctity of life. The speakers included Walter Hoye II, founder of Issues 4 Life and the California Civil Rights Foundation; Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron, episcopal vicar for the Santa Barbara Pastoral Region; Archbishop José H. Gomez, and several others.

“The secret to life is that God wants all of us to be saints. … No matter what our weaknesses are, God can make us saints; it’s possible for me and it’s possible for you, because … we are his family,” said Archbishop Gomez. “We need saints in our families, in our homes, in the Church, in our schools — everywhere in our society.

“My dear brothers and sisters, this is your time,” he added. “We can be saints. … We need to open our hearts to God, and then we can really change the world.”

This year’s pro-life celebrity guests — who were met by a thunderous roar of applause — included actors David Henrie (“Wizards of Waverly Place”); Lorenzo Henrie (“Fear the Walking Dead”); Karyme Lozano (“For Greater Glory”); and Brittany Sharaun (former contestant on “America’s Next Top Model”), who all participated in a panel discussion addressing “How to Stay Holy in Hollywood.”

“I just want to encourage you to examine your life and … think about how you spend your time, how you spend your energy, how you spend your money, and look for things that are taking you away from your purpose, which is unity with God,” said Henrie. “Sometimes we’re choosing people … or things over God.”

Lozano agreed, recounting her own delayed realization that true happiness “begins with Jesus.”

“I searched for happiness in so many superficial things, but instead of giving me happiness they would only make me feel worse; I would feel empty,” she recalled. “But having a true deep relationship with Jesus you can find true happiness.”

The day’s festivities and presentations also included a multi-media dramatization titled “A Path to Sainthood: The Life and Works of Dorothy Day,” which presented an overview of her incredible faith-filled life journey; and “The Game of LIFE: Saints Edition,” featuring teams of teachers and classmates competing against Kevin Baxter, superintendent of Catholic schools, and kathleen-domingo, life coordinator for the archdiocesan Office of Life, Justice and Peace.

For Julio Contreras, an eighth grader at St. Therese School, Alhambra, and self-described lifelong Catholic, the rally speeches and presentations “struck me hard.”

“They really taught me how to be an even more devoted Catholic than I already was,” said Contreras.

Fellow St. Therese classmate Clarissa Farfan shared similar thoughts.

“I thought it was a really good experience, and I think every Catholic school should come to this event at least once, because the speakers are really good and they give you more self-confidence, so that you can make the right decisions and live your faith every day,” explained Farfan.

The yearly Christian Service 4LIFE rally is presented as a joint effort between LIFEsocal, a pro-life group founded by students and families, and the archdiocesan Office of Life, Justice and Peace. Participating students earn service hours for their attendance. To learn more about Christian Service 4LIFE, visit