Youth rally to reach out to middle-schoolers

WESTWOOD -- Addressing the need for evangelization and outreach to Catholic middle school-aged youth, the Archdiocese of Boston, along with Life Teen International, is hosting a youth rally for young people in Grades 6 through 8 on Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood.

The program, entitled “The Real Me: Letting Go of Our Masks,” features music, talks, and activities, eucharistic adoration and Mass.

“There is a great need among the parishes for ministry to middle-school kids,” said Danielle Olsen, Mission Coordinator and Administrator for the archdiocese’s Office for the New Evangelization of Youth and Young Adults.

Olsen pointed out that while there are numerous programs in the parishes geared towards high schoolers, there is a need to reach out to middle school students as well.

“We find if you don’t get them when they are in middle school, by the time they get to high school, they’ve gone too far in the other direction,” she said.

The day’s praise and worship music will be provided by the Ike Ndolo Band. They will also lead the songs at Mass.

Christian songwriter, musician, speaker, and worship leader Chris Padgett will speak in the morning on the program’s theme.

From 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., there will be a carnival led by missionaries from Life Teen International. Held during the lunch hour, the students will also have the chance to eat pizza, popcorn, and cotton candy.

Following the carnival, Lisa Epperson, Life Teen’s resource director, will speak on the Eucharist. Her talk will be followed by eucharistic adoration.

Then, boys and girls will split for gender-specific sessions on the meaning of Christianity today.

The rally will conclude with a 4:15 p.m. Mass celebrated by Father Matt Williams, the archdiocese’s Director of New Evangelization for Youth and Young Adults.

“I think one of the biggest things is they see all the other kids from the area and they are able to see that the faith is something bigger than what they see every week at Mass,” Olsen said. “They can be excited about it and see that the Church is young and the Church is alive.”