To make sure that the “Cool 2B Catholic” Youth Rally lived up to its name, organizers moved the inspirational talk/music jam from the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Plaza to a large meeting hall at the Cathedral Conference Center when outdoor temperatures were predicted to be near 100.
Being indoors certainly didn’t stop the music, impromptu dancing and lighthearted mood for the hundreds of area youth who came from all across the Los Angeles Archdiocese for an afternoon of prayer and later, pizza.
Sponsored by the Los Angeles Catholic Prayer Breakfast Committee, the Sept. 15 rally invited youth from high schools, confirmation groups and parishes to hear Carmelite Sister Regina Marie Gorman who would address the Prayer Breakfast crowds the following morning. This year marked the second time organizers included youth in their overall plans.
The youth rally was underwritten by the Daniel Murphy Foundation which meant there was no cost to attend.
“We want them to come and have fun with their faith,” said emcee Kenny Lund who introduced the Jacob and Matthew Band, who got everyone up on their feet, clapping and swaying — including a large contingency of Carmelite Sisters. Participants were encouraged to take photos, tweet and text during the mini-concert, but youth were so engrossed in the music and song that few even took out their phones.
“I came today for the music and dancing and I want to hear people talk about their God moments,” said junior Sarah Vargas from Bellarmine Jefferson High School in Burbank. “I like being in a community with my fellow Catholics,” added Andrew Lucero a senior at Cathedral High School.
During a song break, Archbishop José Gomez welcomed the crowds reminding the young people that “it’s important to all of us to love God and love one another.”
In her straightforward talk, Sister Gorman told stories with a message. But she stressed that in today’s society there is so much information “hurled at you. I just want to give you two things that I hope will grow inside of you.”
Sister Gorman relayed the story of how one little Catholic girl in China — who was killed by the Communists in 1953 — inspired Bishop Fulton Sheen, who in turn inspired millions. “One act of love has ripple effects,” she said. “We all have a purpose being here.”
She also described a modern-day prodigal son story with a young boy leaving home. After a while, he wants to see his parents again and with the help of others, he makes it back home. Still, he is scared if his parents will accept him. He texts his parents, telling them if they want to see him, just leave a light on the front porch. When he approaches his home, the whole house is lit up.
“I leave you with these two things,” said Sister Gorman. “Number one: you have a destiny. Number two: the lights are always on for you when you goof up. The Father will always take you back. You are so deeply loved by God. Human life is a gift from the heart of God.”