ROCK THE MOUNT — Keynote speaker Peter van Kampen engages the crowd at the Catholic youth rally at Mount Carmel shrine Aug. 18. His theme was St. Joseph, Our Faithful Protector. The daylong event also included music, reconciliation, mass with the bishop, praise and worship, games and activities, displays and eucharistic adoration. (Yaworski photo)
Youth urged to pursue holiness as a goal
By Kiply Lukan Yaworski
CARMEL, Sask. — Under sunny prairie skies and surrounded by
lush fields, hundreds of youth and their families filled the hillside
at the historic Our Lady of Mount Carmel shrine Aug. 18 for Rock the
Mount, an annual celebration of Catholic faith featuring music, talks
Music was provided by the Alberta band FX of Grace, as well as by the Saskatchewan-based
FacetoFace Ministries evangelization team.
After a penitential service led by the newly ordained Rev. Gregory Roth, assistant pastor at St. Augustine Parish in Humboldt, priests from around the province celebrated the sacrament of reconciliation at stations throughout the picturesque site.
The Diocesan Youth Retreat Team and seminarians from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon led the rosary in prayer sessions throughout the day, and a number of groups, religious orders and vendors set up displays at the base of the hill.
Peter van Kampen, a youth ministry co-ordinator from central Alberta, was the featured speaker, focusing on the theme, St. Joseph, Our Faithful Protector in several talks.
Van Kampen pointed to qualities of St. Joseph that provide example and inspiration for followers of Jesus Christ — in his life as a faithful spouse, parent and worker, and in his faithfulness, chastity and courage.
St. Joseph’s experiences also demonstrate that even though he trusted in God’s plan for his life and faithfully followed God’s will, his life was not necessarily easy. While God has a plan for each person, “God is never going to give you the whole plan,” said van Kampen. “Continue to obey God, and let God guide us to the next step.”
To discern the voice of God, it is necessary to listen, to pray and to cultivate a relationship with Christ, he stressed. He challenged youth to consciously pursue holiness as a goal.
At the most basic level, God wants us to love, and to make the most loving choices, van Kampen said, adding that he does not believe Christians always rise to that challenge. “At the end of the day as Christians, we don’t make love our aim much more than non-Christians in our society do,” he said. “Our aim in life — most people’s aim in life — is not to love, but to be as comfortable as possible, to be as wealthy as possible.”
Through a life of purifying love, God wants to transform us completely, van Kampen said. “We need to allow ourselves to be transformed, to understand what we’ve been called to do, to make love our aim, take it seriously, come up with a plan and start letting God’s grace transform us."
During the day of talks, Saskatoon Bishop Donald Bolen also provided an afternoon reflection about vocation, in addition to presiding at the celebration of the eucharist.
In his homily, Bolen pointed to the beauty of creation as a call from God to seek the “eternal foundation” of all that is beautiful. “God gives us beautiful things, not only to bring us joy, but to cultivate within us a desire for that which is truly beautiful, the source of all beauty.”
With the Year of Faith about to begin throughout the Catholic Church, it is a time not only to deepen our faith, but to “deepen our ability to speak our faith,” Bolen said, stressing the faithful presence of God in these efforts, and God’s deep desire to draw all into the fullness of life.
Rock the Mount ended with eucharistic adoration, followed by lively praise and worship music under the stars.
Organized by a local committee led by Cathy and Doug Swarbrick, Rock the Mount is supported by a team of volunteers, as well as by the donations of individuals, businesses and organizations such as the Knights of Columbus and Catholic Women’s League.