FRAMINGHAM — Teens crowded the stage, shouting along with lyrics and waving their arms to music blasting from giant speakers. The scene had all the elements of a rock concert with a Catholic twist.
About 1,700 Catholics attended the 6th annual Proud 2B Catholic Music Festival entitled “Called 2B Disciples,” held at the Marist House in Framingham Aug. 12.
Each year the concert hosts big name Catholic musicians and features Mass, adoration and confession. Catholics from all over New England come to the daylong event, held from 1-9 p.m., to listen to the music, listen to presentations, receive sacraments, pray the rosary, play games or toss a football.
On the cool, sunny Saturday, three 14-year-old girls from Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Parish in Hampton, N.H., kicked off their flip-flops to lob a beach ball back and forth. They were attending the concert for the first time with their parish’s confirmation program. They said they enjoyed going to adoration and confession as well as hanging around, listening to good music.
Julia Ghigliotti said the concert was both “fun” and “cool.”
“I would do it again,” said Arielle Bean. “It exceeded my expectations.”
“Totally,” added Britt Tavano.
Connor Bradbury, 17, from Holy Ghost Parish in Attleborough, agreed, saying that the concert builds up his faith.
“I recommend the concert to anyone who wants a boost in their faith life or just a great day,” he said.
Connor said he attended last year and plans to come again next year. This year he enjoyed the performances of musicians Righteous B and Bernie Choiniere as well as participating in adoration.
Other Catholic musicians included Father Stan Fortuna, Sarah Bauer, Bob Rice, Sean Forrest, Zealous, Paul Savageau, Ryan Meyers, Cross Pollen with speaker Chris Faddis, the John Flynn Band, Aaron Fouhey, Susan Bailey, ROCK Music Ministry, Martin Doman and John Polce.
American Idol semifinalist Ayla Brown also performed. Though not Catholic, Brown spoke of her faith in God during her performance. Ayla, a 17-year-old from Wrentham, plans to attend Boston College in the fall on a full basketball scholarship.
All the events ended before the vigil Mass began at 6:30 p.m. with music by St. Angela’s Choir of Mattapan.
The main celebrant was Bishop Richard Malone of the Diocese of Portland, Maine, who spoke during his homily about the need for all followers of Christ to be spiritually refreshed. Like Elijah in the first reading from the First Book of Kings, it is normal for all to become worn-out or frightened.
“It’s part of being human to sometimes want to run away,” he said.
But the Lord sent an angel to Elijah and gave him something to eat so that he was restored, he added.
“The Lord knows we need to be re-energized,” he said. “He is the living bread of life, the Eucharist.”
Every Christian’s life is a pilgrimage, a journey with a holy purpose, and Jesus feeds us so that we will have strength on our journey. The Lord also calls Catholics to evangelize, bringing the joy of the Gospel and challenge of Jesus Christ to others, he said.
“One of the things that troubles me terribly, and I know it troubles you, is that in this part of the country, New England, the great majority of our Catholic sisters and brothers do not participate actively in the life of the Church,” Bishop Malone said. “There is nothing more important in our lives than to live in such a way as to invite people like that to come back to the Lord’s table.”
All Catholics need to seek the spiritual nourishment that can only be found in the Eucharist, he added.