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Middle schoolers pray and play in a faith-filled day at the annual BASH

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“Each one of you has to figure out how God is going to call you to grow closer to Him,” said Kevin Bohli, director of the Office of Youth Ministry. 

More than 600 middle schoolers attended the annual BASH at Saint John Paul the Great Catholic High School in Dumfries April 29. Youths scattered as they jumped in a moon bounce, ate pizza and went to confession.

"Everything you're looking for is going to be restless until you bring it to God. Are you and I seeking God?" Mike Patin, keynote speaker

Colin Fransiszkowicz, a parishioner of Church of the Nativity in Burke, attended last year and came back with his friend, Seth Young, who said his friend’s testimonial of fun, games and meeting new people lived up to his expectations. Both agreed that faith plays an important role in their lives.

Jennifer Carney and Jennifer Bower, parishioners of St. John Neumann Church in Reston, came because of their children. Carney expressed delight in having a Catholic outlet that keeps her children engaged. Bower said it’s important for youths to socialize with peers their own age who can be faith-centered and also outside of church.

As the sun set, the youths and parent volunteers gathered in the school’s gym for a talk and Mass celebrated by Father Bjorn C. Lundberg, chaplain of Saint John Paul the Great. Bohli spoke to the youths about the difference between occupation and vocation. Both are important, he said, but often there is more emphasis on finding a career instead of finding God’s will. Developing a personal relationship with Christ that is built on prayer is the best way to discover a vocation, he said.

“St. Teresa of Kolkata spent so much time in prayer,” said Bohli.  

The newly canonized saint is integrated into the Office of Youth Ministry’s 2017 theme, “I Will Love,” by using the colors of her sari and words from her 1985 address to the United Nations.

Keynote speaker Mike Patin, a former high school teacher and coach, played icebreaking games with the youths, one of which was a scavenger hunt. Youths sought attendees with glasses, credit cards and master’s degrees to complete their list. One by one, youths were eliminated until two remained. The last item on their list was to find someone from the crowd who knew Patin’s birthday. The remaining girls scrambled around the gym looking for someone, and then one of the girls simply asked Patin. 


“She thought, ‘He’s old, but he may still remember when his birthday is,’ ” Patin said to the attendees in the gym after the game concluded. “Life is like that. You got all this stuff to make you happy. (But) maybe, I should ask the person who knows? Everything you’re looking for is going to be restless until you bring it to God. Are you and I seeking God?”


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017