FRAMINGHAM -- Fellowship and celebrating faith with hundreds of other Catholic teens brings them back each year to the Proud 2B Catholic Music Festival. More than 1,000 Catholic youth and their families gathered at the Marist House Aug. 11 for the seventh annual concert, entitled “Power 2B Faithful.”
The daylong event, organized by Campbell Concerts, featured live music, talks and children’s activities as well as Mass, adoration and confession.
Sam Bouchard, a 16-year-old from Maine, said he liked the festival so much last year that he came again this year. Sam said he most likes participating in the Mass and other Catholic activities.
“I like the adoration here,” he added.
Liz Molloy, a student in physical therapy at Northeastern University, said she also attended two years in a row.
“I love the idea of having it as an open place to be with your friends and celebrate being Catholic together,” she said.
A Catholic father from Connecticut, Steve Moran, said that his teens feel supported by the fellowship they find each year at Proud 2B Catholic.
“What I get the most out of is the Mass,” he said. “It’s the highlight for us.”
Father Daniel Hennessey, director of the Vocations Office in the archdiocese, had a booth set up in the exhibitor tent and said he hoped the concert will spur Catholic youth to think about what God is calling them to.
“It’s really inspiring to see so many young people who have a love for the Church and the Catholic faith,” he said. “It’s a great sign of hope and also for vocations.”
Peter Campbell organized the first Proud 2B Catholic Music Festival in 2001. Campbell Concerts has since expanded and this year sponsored four family-friendly events in addition to the Framingham Music Festival. The events included a youth fest on Long Island, N.Y. May 19, a family festival in Kennebunk, Maine July 7 as well as upcoming music festivals in Sulphur, La. Sept. 8 and in Toronto, Canada Oct. 13.
Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley said in a letter of endorsement that Campbell Concerts has been a source of “grace for evangelization and unification of Catholic youth,” which draws them together to proudly proclaim their faith.
At this year’s festival, Catholic musical performers included Matt Maher, Father Stan Fortuna, Righteous B, Ben Walther and recent convert Rob Evans, also known as “The Donut Man.”
The festival also featured several talks, including “Jesus and the Church vs. the Culture of Death” with Jesse Romero, a music ministry workshop with Martin Doman, and the witness of newly-ordained Father Darin Colarusso, a former fighter pilot.
Al Getler, a ventriloquist and former Catholic youth minister, spoke on the topic of “Youth Ministry for Dummies.” Youth ministers need to use the contemporary to catch teens’ attention and communicate Catholic teachings, he said.
He encouraged those working with teens to use modern tools like the Internet and text-messaging. He also exhorted teens to help build their youth programs.
“It’s up to you, the teens, to bring people into the youth program,” he said. “It’s your job to minister to your peers.”
After his talk, Getler brought out several of his puppets. The ventriloquist’s act included Miss McNealy, an elderly dummy, who said she plays basketball in her “grandma Nikes.”
“I’m the center,” she said, adding “the senior center.”
During the afternoon, Holy Cross Family Ministries hosted an interactive learning tent where children could go to sing praise and worship songs, make rosary prayer books, and play video games based on the Gospels.
Children at the festival also enjoyed the inflatable games area. Many children and teens enjoyed the sunny summer day by tossing baseballs, throwing flying discs and playing other games while listening to the live music.