Rally draws hundreds of teens

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Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge told more than 850 Arlington youths and adult leaders that his favorite part about being a bishop is “being with you.”

High school-aged teens from 50 diocesan parishes spent eight hours at Rally at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington celebrating their Catholic faith Oct. 22.

In the late afternoon, Bishop Burbidge celebrated Mass for the group, followed by a question and answer session with the teens. They asked the Bishop what the hardest part about being a priest is, and what celebrity he would pick as a travel companion (answer: Pope Francis). One young girl even asked him to tell a corny joke, to which he responded, “I think you should tell us a joke,” as the whole room responded in laughter.

“If you’re ever meeting me, let’s meet eyeball to eyeball, heart to heart,” Bishop Burbidge told the teens, reminding them to always, “Walk humbly with your God,” his episcopal motto and this year’s Office of Youth, Campus and Young Adult Ministries theme.

“Humility is that virtue that allows us to recognize that we are God’s chosen ones,” Bishop Burbidge said. “When someone recognizes something that you were able to do and accomplish, the right response is ‘thank you.’ That is humility.”

“What I love about Rally is how the day always begins with hundreds of teenagers somewhat apprehensive about spending an entire day at a ‘churchy’ event,” said Kevin Bohli, director of the Office of Youth, Campus and Young Adult Ministries, which sponsors the annual event. “But it always ends with such energy and excitement for the Lord and being members of the Catholic Church.”

Earlier in the day, teens heard from keynote speaker Sarah Swafford, founder of Emotional Virtue Ministries, before breaking out into multiple workshops, including “Stump the Priest,” “#SquadGoals” and “How to Know What God Wants,” each led by youth ministry directors, religious, priests and laypersons.

Throughout the day, inflatables, amusement park rides and other outdoor games kept teens active.

The night capped off with an improv session with Improv 321, a group that came up with its name from the 3-in-1 nature of the Trinity. The Ben Walther Band accompanied the finale concert and adoration service, which was a combination of prayer, music, procession and silence.

Plumb is diocesan digital and social media coordinator.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017