Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Truly Present: Diocese of Richmond Fall Middle School Rally in Charlottesville

Sue, Laura, and I were Truly Present at the Middle School Rally.
Truly Present was the theme of the Fall Middle School Rally put on by our awesome Office of Evangelization.  We gathered in Charlottesville for a day of fun festivities, crafts, talks, and most importantly: prayer.  A large group of high schoolers gave up their Saturday to host the event.  They served as craft monitors, game hosts, and inflatable fun facilitators.  The guest speaker did a wonderful job of relating to both youth and adults.  He was actually the RA for a member of the Evangelization team.  She didn't realize it until she called him to come and speak to us.

My favorite part of the day was when we all gathered in the gym for a period of Eucharistic Adoration.  There’s something special about seeing so many middle schoolers and adults kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament. 

Fr. Miguel Melendez, who was just ordained last June, came and presided at Adoration and the Mass.  It was nice to hear him say Mass finally.  I’d heard his brother priests ordained in June with him, Fr. John Christian and Fr. Mark Kowalski say Mass, but it was my first time being at one of his Masses.  In his homily, he talked about his passion for playing soccer and how some of the characteristics of a good goalie are also things good Christians practice.

I was excited to see people from many of the parishes I’ve attended over the years, especially the ones who came all the way from Roanoke for the event.  I recognize a number of the youth ministers and volunteers, which always makes the experience more fun. 

What does it mean to be Truly Present?  Well, it means being willing to sit still, listen carefully, participate fully, and live in the moment.  I got the chance to practice all of these aspects of mindfulness that Saturday while hanging out with some of my favorite people.  It was a great day!

My Prayer: Lord, thank you for helping us be Truly Present to You and to one another.  We are so easily distracted by the media as well as our own opinions and agendas.  Please continue to draw us closer to You through times of much-needed, silent prayer. Amen.

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