Hundreds of high school students from across Lower Mainland will gather for fellowship & prayer
By Jeremy Keong
Special to The B.C. Catholic
Inspired by the theme of the 27th World Youth Day, this year's archdicean Youth Day for teenagers is based on Phillippians 4:4, Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say: rejoice!"
St. Paul repeats his instruction immediately, as if he is assuming the people in Philippi weren't paying attention the first time. It's that important. And he had a point. Sometimes we forget how amazing our God is, even during this season of Easter!
We are not to rejoice aimlessly, but to rejoice in the Lord; to be intimately connected to Who He is. Pope Benedict XVI emphasizes St. Paul's quickly repeated instruction when he says that we celebrate Easter "because now, thanks to the risen Lord, it is definitively established that reason is stronger than unreason, truth stronger than lies, love stronger than death."
That is the reason for our rejoicing. We don't rejoice because Christ was some great spiritual guru, or because he was a great moral teacher. We rejoice because He was the Son of God Who rose from the dead.
Because He rose, sin is defeated and we too can look death in the face and rest assured that it won't hold us down. We share in Christ's victory, and that surely is something to be happy about!
So do we always rejoice in the Lord? Are we always grateful, thankful, and joyful in the fact that we have been given a way back to the Father? Does this joy emanate through our prayers and our work? Does this joy show itself even in the midst of trial and suffering?
We know that God is always with us, and that His peace and love will enable us to do anything, as long as we rest in Him. If we are truly doing that, we will be rejoicing in Him too.
At Youth Day, hundreds of high school students will come together in fellowship and prayer to discover all of what St. Paul's instruction means for their lives, to rejoice and be happy in all that God has done, and all that He is going to do.
All of us, not just those attending Youth Day, are called to find this joy that can only come from being with God. Joy will flow from this intimacy naturally, for what else can be a result of Love? Let us live out this joy, repeat it every moment of every day through our very selves!
Youth Day is the annual event for the youth of the archdiocese to celebrate and grow in their faith through a dynamic weekend of fun, faith, and fellowship. It will take place this year May 4 and 5 at Archbishop Carney Regional Secondary School in Port Coquitlam.
Judy McDonald will be the keynote speaker, and Cooper Ray will be the music minister. More information about them is available at www.judymcdonald.net and www.cooperray.com.
The $50 fee includes a T-shirt, meals, snacks, and admission to all sessions over the two days. The early registration deadline is April 23. More information at www.oyyam.com.
Jeremy Keong is the youth ministry coordinator at Christ the Redeemer Parish in West Vancouver.