Three dioceses, one goal

By  Catherine Richard, Youth Speak News
  • May 31, 2010
Catholic music artist Jesse ManibusanWinnipeg - The last time a Tri-Diocesan Youth Rally came to Winnipeg, the city was recovering from what is now called the “Flood of the Century.” There was another flood in Winnipeg on May 14, only it wasn’t with water — it was with 700 enthusiastic 10 and 11 year old who assembled to celebrate their faith.

“(The Tri-Diocesan Youth Rallies) have been a part of our history and we wanted to keep it going,” said Elisabeth Duggan, the director of youth ministry for the archdiocese of Winnipeg. Duggan was one of three hosts and organizers of the event, along with Pierre St. Amant and Tamara Lisowski, the directors of youth ministry for the archdiocese St. Boniface and the archeparchy of Winnipeg.

The first day of the two-day event was held for youth in Grades 5 and 6, and was a day of spiritual direction and inspiration, and of encouragement in their faith.

Winnipeg has three dioceses – the Roman Catholic dioceses of Winnipeg and St. Boniface, and the Ukrainian Catholic diocese of Winnipeg. The bishops from all three dioceses attended the event.

“This is a day when the presence of the Holy Spirit will be on all of us.” said the Most Reverend Lawrence Huculak, archeparch of Winnipeg.

The keynote address was given by Jesse Manibusan, a well-known Catholic speaker and singer-songwriter from Grapevine Texas. Manibusan engrossed the youth with his joyful presence and clear way of explaining living as a Catholic.

“Being Catholic is about being community,” Manibusan said. “It’s about not being alone, (it’s) about being loved.”

Manibusan’s humour delighted the youth. To illustrate confession, Manibusan launched into an impromptu game of Simon Says, showing how after making a mistake, a player can get right back in the game when the leader starts over.  “That’s what forgiveness is.” said Manibusan.

He also led singalongs with tunes like “I’m a Believer,” changing the refrain to, “and I saw God’s face, I’m a believer.” Manibusan also taught the students some of the gentle worship songs he has written.

“He’s really funny,” said a student. “He’s fun to sing with.”

The second day was held for youth in Grade 7 and up. Over 250 youth met and enjoyed an intense day with lots of activities and opportunities to grow in their faith.

“The goals we have for the event are that the youth understand they are not alone, build a sense of community and realize they need to be an active part of their community, and grow in a personal relationship with Christ,” said Duggan.

“I liked learning about the Catholic Church, and the different ways to celebrate Christ,” said Andre, a Grade 5 student at St. Jean Brebeuf Catholic School. His classmate, Jack, enjoyed the music the most. “The songs were meaningful,” said Jack. “There were so many words for Jesus in a short time.”

The planners hope to hold the event every two years.

“I would come back” said Andre. “And if they hold it when I’m already married, I’ll bring my wife and kids too.”

(Richard, 15, is a Grade 11 homeschooled student from Winnipeg)

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