St. Anthony of Padua youth group celebrates one year of ministry with a Chris Bray charity concert. Photo by Teresa Quadros

Chris Bray band rocks St. Anthony’s parish

By  Teresa Quadros, Youth Speak News
  • September 30, 2016

BRAMPTON, ONT. – St. Anthony of Padua youth group hosted a charity concert on Sept. 23 with London-born worship singer Chris Bray to help mark the parish’s 40th anniversary.

More than 400 people, from toddlers to grandparents, prayed, sang and listened to inspirational talks, witnessing the true joy of the faith.

Bray moved many people close to tears when he sang “Beloved Child of God,” one of his songs, written about not giving up on hope, to keep seeking, keep searching for Christ.

His talk on longing for a deeper love, our desire for gratification, and that it can only be found in God, struck a chord in several youth.

“Music motivates us on our journey in faith,” Bray said. “It’s a powerful gift from God, something that inspires us, moves us emotionally and touches our soul.”

The concert ignited a spark in those present to be bolder and more confident, to proclaim the wonders found in the Catholic Church.

Although the parish has been around for 40 years, youth ministry wasn’t always vibrant at St. Anthony’s. But the youth group has come to play a bigger role in the community, and for the past year has been part of the LifeTeen and EDGE programs.

During the concert, members of the groups shared their personal testimonies of how the programs changed them for the better.

“LifeTeen helped me take a step into the unfamiliar and the uncomfortable, rather than stay in my comfort zone,” said 17-year-old Nikkita Couto. “Talking about our faith is like swimming. It takes time to get used to the cold water and you can either jump right in or go step-by-step.”

The youth group has grown to more than 80 students taking part in weekly ministries and numerous volunteering opportunities.

“I am focused on bringing the Church of tomorrow, the new generation, to the Church today,” said Yolanda Hermack, the newly appointed youth director at St. Anthony. “Because if the youth leave the faith, there will be no future of the Church.”

The youth at St. Anthony frequently volunteer at Ste. Louise Outreach and Covenant House, and hence chose to support these charities through the concert. More than $2,000 was raised through tickets and donations.

The energy on the night of the concert showcased the liveliness the youth bring to the church in the celebration of Mass every weekend.

(Quadros, 16, is a Grade 11 student at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Secondary School in Brampton, Ont.)

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