Youth celebrate Bicentennial at Proud 2B Catholic festival

FRAMINGHAM -- Sunshine, good music and fantastic company describe the Proud 2B Catholic Music Festival held Aug. 9. Close to 1,000 people attended the all-day concert, which was the official bicentennial celebration for the youth of the Archdiocese of Boston.

While attendance was down from years previous, the event was still a great success, said coordinator Peter Campbell.

“The event was great because it went well and it was sunny all day,” said Campbell, who founded Campbell Concerts/Proud 2B Catholic, which organizes several similar concerts around the country.

“All of our event volunteers and participants talk about feeling a real vibrant Spirit. Everyone there seemed to enjoy themselves.”

The eighth annual Proud 2B Catholic concert was chosen by the archdiocese as the official youth celebration of the bicentennial anniversary of the Archdiocese of Boston. The theme of this year’s festival was “Witness 2B Hope,” which served as a call for young people to actively live their faith, something that Campbell said is a sign of hope for the entire Church.

The music festival included performances by Tony Melendez, a well-known Catholic guitarist who was born without arms; Martin Doman of Domini Ministries and Christ Music; Kelly Pease, a young singer and musician; and Zealous, a Catholic rap star. Father Matthew Williams, the new director of the Archdiocesan Office of the New Evangelization for Youth and Young Adults, served as one of the hosts of the event along with Father John Welch, the vocational director for the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, which sponsors the event and Campbell’s Proud 2B Catholic ministry.

The event ran from 1-9 p.m. and also included Mass celebrated by Cardinal Seán O’Malley, adoration, reconciliation, inflatable games for the children, an international food court and an interactive learning tent hosted by Holy Cross Family Ministries. There were also talks by Catholic convert Rob Evans, also known as “The Donut Man;” Didi Jeremie, a Gospel singer; and Sister Olga Yaqob, an Iraqi nun who gave a talk titled “Amidst darkness, love and hope are the final answer.” The main stage was adorned with banners and signs celebrating the bicentennial anniversary of the archdiocese.

Despite reduced ticket prices, Campbell said that attendance at the festival decreased for the second year in a row. He had expected close to 2,000 people to attend. He plans to reach out to priests in the Archdiocese of Boston so that they can help publicize next year’s event at their parishes. Plans are already in the works for the next concert, which Campbell hopes to hold Aug. 8, 2009.