REGINA — The My Generation Archdiocesan 2015 Youth rally held here March 21 - 22 attracted 155 Grades 8 to 12 youth who spent two days listening to motivational speakers, attending liturgies, performing community services and generally just having fun. Most attendees seemed to be newcomers.
“I don’t think I recognized 90 per cent of the kids this year,” said archdiocesan youth co-ordinator Michelle Braden.
The Rally Band, put together specifically for the rally, kept the energy going between sessions with upbeat music that encouraged participation.
The theme this year, Make a Mess, came from Pope Francis’ challenge to youth attending 2014 World Youth Day in Brazil. Attendees to the MyGen Rally were greeted with a life-size cutout of Pope Francis when they entered O’Neil High School where most of the activities took place. Speakers emphasized the theme and it was carried over into some of the community service projects that are a feature of the annual gathering.
This year groups went to four senior care homes where residents were entertained with songs and skits, sorted food and packed baskets at the Regina Food Bank, did some painting and cleaning at other charitable organizations, and made 75 litres of soup that were taken to the YWCA women’s’ shelter.
Archbishop Daniel Bohan engaged the youth during his homily at the closing Sunday mass, asking for responses to what they heard in the Jeremiah scriptural reading. Several responded they heard “written on our hearts,” others said they heard “they shall be my people.” The archbishop said all of those things are personal and “that’s why you go to mass on Sunday,” but, he continued, recognizing that youth often find mass boring, “and sometimes that’s right. The music will be led by a bunch of old people, some over 30,” he said, getting a reaction from the crowd. “And sometimes the priest will give a crappy homily,” again getting a reaction. “But none of that can prevent us from entering into mass and finding deep in our souls that we are face to face with God who says to us ‘I love you, you are mine, I am your God, what do you need in your life.’ ”
And sometimes, he said, the hymns and the homily will be good “and your experience of being in the presence of God will be beautiful.”
The youth were helped and guided with 65 youth leadership volunteers, members of the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Women’s’ League and chaperones.