Connor Flanagan pumps up the youth with some praise and worship music at the 2018 Lift Jesus Higher Rally in Toronto. Photo by Marie Gamboa

Lift Jesus Higher Rally livens faith of youth

By  Vincent Pham, Youth Speak News
  • March 8, 2018
Adorabelle Namigadde was looking for love in all the wrong places.

At this year’s Lift Jesus Higher Rally in Toronto on March 3, Namigadde shared a testimony of how she wrote love notes to herself in the sixth grade and she looked for love through pornography. It wasn’t until Namigadde encountered a priest that she learned the love she was looking for was God.

The priest encouraged her to pray and read the Gospels in order to foster that relationship. Namigadde took the priest’s advice and immersed herself in prayer. She began to realize the different ways that she had seen, but not recognized, God’s love.

“The more I come to know God, love Him and serve Him, which really plays out in the way I interact (with) and treat others, the more I will actualize who I am supposed to be. And the more I will come closer to living the life that is worthy,” said Namigadde, who is a reporter with a radio station in Columbus, Ohio. She reminded the youth that Jesus died for us so that we can have access to Him and have a relationship with Him.

More than 1,300 youth and 3,400 adults gathered at Metro Toronto Convention Centre for the Lift Jesus Higher Rally, an annual conference hosted by Catholic Renewal Ministries. It provides a chance for Catholics, young and old, to pray, reflect and liven up their faith.

“Today was great. There were really good talks,” said Kaylee Pilione, a youth from Woodstock, Ont. “It is fun coming here, getting together with people who have the same faith as you.”

The youth rally was run parallel to the adult rally with a packed but fun-filled schedule. As with previous years, the youth rally kicked off with praise and worship. For Victoria Goldsack, it is the highlight of her experience.

“I found the songs were very refreshing,” said Goldsack, from Sacred Heart Youth Group in Parkhill, Ont. “I like the fellowship of the youth…. We can all connect together and not be afraid about the judgment of others.”

Connor Flanagan, a Catholic music artist and speaker, emphasized there is an ongoing spiritual battle and that we need God.

“Oftentimes, I let my pride dictate the path that is in front of me rather than letting Jesus dictate the path,” said Flanagan. “You can’t win unless you risk death… Our holiness is formed in the fires of our suffering.”

Flanagan stirred the energetic youth with some of his songs, including “Strong Is Your Love,” “I Believe” and his latest,“Skyscraper,” to be released in May.

The day ended with Adoration and Mass. Bishop Scott McCaig presided over the sacraments as Chris Bray provided the music.

“God is passionately in love with you. He aches and yearns for you,” McCaig said in his homily. “It was said by the worship ministry early on who talked about the analogy: ‘Our hearts ache for the Lord.’ That’s the truth! You were made for God and nothing less is going to satisfy you. Man, you can have all the money in the world and you will still have that ache in your heart for something more.”

The next rally is scheduled for March 2, 2019 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

(Pham, 17, is a Grade 11 student at Chaminade College School in Toronto, Ont.)

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