By Michael Soh
With an intention to challenge its participants on the relevance of faith, the Stronger Teen Rally at Kolbe Catholic College on Friday, 27 March drew some 200 students and teens from the Archdiocese.
The rally was ran by Catholic Youth Ministry in conjunction with Kolbe and the parishes of Rockingham, Baldivis, Kwinana and Port Kennedy.
It started with a sausage sizzle and various games and activities. Praise and Worship music was led by husband and wife team, Paul and Jessie Curtis and entertainment music was also provided by school band, The Last Lion.
The theme of the Stronger Rally was ‘Is Faith Relevant?’, a question that many young people ask and guest speaker Justine Howard addressed that topic.
Ms Howard, a law lecturer at the University of Notre Dame, spoke about the importance of faith and challenged the audience to say yes to God’s call to be in their lives.
Her talk was followed by a testimony by Kolbe Head Boy Charlie Smith and Spirituality Captain, Erica Fernandez, who spoke about their own faith journeys and their recent pilgrimage to Flores, Indonesia.
They showed a video presentation on the trip which showed its highlights, from walking the kids to their schools and how welcoming the locals were despite their poor conditions.
This was followed by a prayerful period, which gave the youth an opportunity for prayer and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, were four priests were available.
A cross symbolising faith was displayed at the side of the hall, where participants lit candles and wrote their prayers or intentions on foot-shaped paper cut-out.
The evening concluded with a panel of speakers for a question and answer session where various questions on the Catholic faith were answered.
The panel consisted of young Perth Catholic Chantelle Bertino-Clarke, Director of Catholic Youth Ministry Anita Parker, Kolbe College Religious Education Co-ordinator Damian Ramos and Mandurah Catholic College Religious Education Co-ordinator Richard Sellwood.
Mr Ramos was impressed by the event and is pleased the school is now in the loop.
“Events like tonight will definitely have a positive impact in strengthening the faith of young people,” he said.
“Schools like Kolbe need to part of the movement and I would be more than happy to host another rally at Kolbe, but I also think that going to other schools like Seton or Emmanuel or other Colleges in the Southern Metropolitan Area and even beyond.
“It’s a great way for young people who are like-minded to meet each other.”
Fellow Kolbe Religious Education teacher Patrick Branson was also happy with the event and backed the students to be involved with such an event in the future.
“I was really impressed with it and it was just the joyousness of people that they were here and having a bit of fun and I was really impressed with the students from Kolbe. They pitched in and got a lot of things done very quickly,” Mr Branson said.
“It gives them an understanding of what a youth rally can be like, and hopefully it will wet their appetite for having another one in a few months’ time and hopefully with the next one, the kids will do more of the organizing.”
“So in the end, we want to get it to the point where the students do everything, and all the adults do is be here to make sure that everything will work for them.”
Kolbe head boy Smith was surprised by the amount of fellow students who attended the event, particularly the involvement in the prayer and reconciliation part.
“I think it was awesome because I didn’t really think that many people from our school would get into the whole prayerful side of the night, but I was really surprised that everyone was open-minded and willing to get involved in the prayer side of things tonight,” he explained.
“I also wanted to share my experience in Flores and encourage other people to do something like that, and I think that’s a really important thing in developing faith and also think it was great that the reconciliation was amalgamated with it as it gave everyone the opportunity to access that.”
The next youth rally in the area is on the 17th of April at Seton Catholic College called IGNITE LIVE. 7-9pm and its a FREE event. For full details go to igniteyouth.com/perth