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A Time To Encounter Christ

Posted on January 04, 2020 in: News

A Time To Encounter Christ

Being open to an encounter with God should be the most important thing in each person’s life was the message nearly 200 youth at this year’s Youth Explosion heard from Cooper Ray, a national speaker and musician.

“God should be with you in all parts of your lives, not just when you go to bed and pray, and not just when you have a crisis or a sudden need,” said Mr. Ray, who dynamically blended music and personal testimony to inspire youth to make God a priority in their lives.

“Cooper encouraged young people to not sit on the sidelines, but truly experience God because there is so much more that God can offer when we go deep,” said Liza Roach, Youth and Young Adult coordinator for the diocese.

Following Cooper Ray’s presentation, Fr. Mark Sauriol, pastor of St. Mary Parish, Pawtucket, RI, celebrated Mass and gave a stirring homily reminding participants that God is present in each one of us.

“In the moments of our lives where we can put aside our selfish needs and be present for others, that is when we become the living presence of Christ,” he said.

Fr. Sauriol celebrated this year’s Mass as Bishop Michael Cote was in Rome at the time. As part of the day’s events, youth and adults had the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, participate in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and write a letter to God as part of a prayer activity.

Other activities included playing a game called, “Protect your Neighbor,” in which youth stood in a circle with a ball, and ‘the neighbor’ could not move while one guard protected him from the flying ball. Another activity gave youth the chance to use their cell phones and read QR discussion codes that allowed them to see questions about Cooper Ray’s presentation and their Catholic faith.

"In the moments of our lives where we
can put aside our selfish needs and be
present for others, that is when we
become the living presence of Christ”

- Fr. Mark Sauriol, pastor of St. Mary Parish, Pawtucket, RI

As part of the day’s events, Liza Roach distributed the St. Timothy Award to three Diocesan high school students. The St. Timothy award is given to high school students who exemplify its threefold purpose – good moral values, Christian service and Catholic leadership. Recipients must be involved in parish, diocesan, school and community youth programs or services during their high school years.

This year’s winners are: Ann Lucia Bernadette Geoly, a senior from Ledyard High School and member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Gales Ferry; Olivia Riccio, a junior from Morgan High School, Clinton, and a member of St. Mary Church, Clinton; and Nathalie O’Neill, a senior at Mercy High School, Middletown and a member of St. Pius X Church, Middletown.

Several participants at this year’s Youth Explosion said the day’s events were full of faith and fun and they are eager to return. “Are we coming back next year?” said Luke Nicholas, a middle school student from Sacred Heart Parish, Taftville.

By Liza Roach

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