By Becky Berreth
How does one live once we have encountered Jesus?
That is the question posed by this year’s Diocesan Youth Rally speakers Chris Padgett and Gina Bauer. The two will address youth sixth grade through seniors in high school at the Oct. 7 event held at the Terra Sancta Retreat Center.
“This year’s theme — The Road to Discipleship” — is based on Jesus’ walk with the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus,” said Craig Dyke, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the diocese. “This year, we are working from the experience of having had an encounter with Jesus — what do you do then? Stop and say ‘that was awesome,’ and go back to our old way? No! Once we encounter him, we walk with him, and along the road we talk to him, get to know him and his plan for us.”
“Missionary discipleship is a big deal in our church right now,” said Padgett. “The call to live out our faith is a very important call. Jesus himself talked about going out to the ends of the earth and sharing the good news. This road to discipleship is about learning how to fall more in love with Jesus and sharing that relationship with other people in a natural way. I feel that a lot of people think they have to be street corner preachers to do this, but they don’t; it’s caring for people, it’s loving the unlovable.”
“The hope is for each student to be filled with the desire to want to be a disciple and then go out into the world and make disciples,” agreed Bauer. “I will teach the youth what it means to encounter the Lord, know him intimately, and then share Christ with the world.”
This year, high school students will have the opportunity to live the call to share Christ by participating in the Teen Missionary Disciples Conference, the day before the youth rally. According to Dyke, the idea stemmed from the reality that a number of high school age teens who attend youth rallies, Steubenville Youth Conferences, etc., are ready to move from the experience of encountering Christ to more of an ongoing daily encounter with our Lord. “We will dive into what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ through prayer, fellowship, Scripture, the sacraments, and boldly witnessing to his presence in our lives,” explained Dyke. “Both speakers will give talks to inspire our teens to grow as disciples and share the good news of Jesus Christ.
“The teens who participate in the TMDC will play particular evangelizing roles for the youth rally that takes place the next day. All will have some role in the set up for the day — hospitality and welcoming, leading prayer experiences, lecturing, or serving at Mass, and opportunity to share their personal testimony at the youth rally.”
Padgett hopes to equip students attending both events with “resources we need in this difficult and dark time,” he said. “We are trying to do something that’s a little unconventional — we are swimming up-stream. This is a positive message and a place of encouragement.”
“Life is crazy,” agreed Bauer. “We need to take time to slow down and what better place than a youth rally!”
Registration forms for both events can be found online, www.rapidcitydiocese. org/yya or from your parish youth director. TMDC begins at 5 p.m. on October 6, and the Youth Rally begins at 9 a.m. on October 7. Cost for rally is $45, includes lunch and t-shirt. The cost for TMDC is $75 which includes overnight stay at Terra Sancta, youth rally, meals, and t-shirt. Scholarships are available for those in need. Registration deadline for both events is September 25. For more information call Craig Dyke or Linda Batman at 605-716-5214 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.