MISSION HILLS — An energetic group of nearly 3,000 students representing more than 30 Catholic schools from the archdiocese sang, prayed, clapped and worshiped together May 6 on Bishop Alemany High School’s outdoor sports field.

Presented by the Los Angeles Archdiocese and Holy Cross Family Ministries, the four-hour L.A. Youth Rosary Rally featured live music, group prayer, a vibrant “living rosary” and special guest speakers, including San Fernando Region Auxiliary Bishop Gerald Wilkerson and worship and prayer leader ValLimar Jansen.

“We’re here today to honor Mary, the mother of Jesus, and it seems to me that the best way to honor Mary is to allow her to lead us to Jesus — that’s what Mary does,” Bishop Wilkerson told the students. “She wants every one of us to know her son Jesus.”

To grow in the Catholic faith, it is necessary not only to recognize our human flaws, but also to acknowledge our inherent goodness with the help of Mary, he explained.

“We’re very good — that’s how God created us,” the bishop said. “But if we don’t know our very goodness, then we don’t know who we are. … Look inside of yourself, because inside is where the gold is — know your gold. Mary helps us understand that we are filled with gold, and that’s why we are so pleasing in the eyes of God.”

During her praise-filled musical presentation, Jansen, who has sung sacred music since she was 5, energized the crowd with her powerful voice, positive words and movements. The students clapped on cue, raised their arms, swayed side to side, and sang and prayed along with Jansen and their teachers.

Prayer is communication with God, and that means speaking and listening,” said Jansen during a solemn moment. “Whenever we are not speaking with God, we are listening to God — and when we do that we are praying without ceasing.

For Isabella Lencse, an eighth grade student at Holy Family School in Glendale, the rally was “a really good experience.” All the “dancing, singing and praying” helped Lencse and her classmates “learn more and get more into our faith,” she explained.

Holy Family seventh-grader Giulian Pisua agreed.

“Today was great, because I learned more about God and about getting closer to him,” he told The Tidings.

The yearly rally is sponsored by Holy Cross Family Ministries, which has mission offices in 17 countries and reaches out to families through media and prayer events to help fulfill the vision of their late founder, Father Patrick Peyton, CSC, that “the family that prays together stays together.”