Youth on Fire

March 20-26, 2003
Youth on Fire
By Kristen Fox / SUN contributing writers
Fan the Fire Youth Rally Gets Students Excited About Faith

High school students from across the diocese are certainly fired up about their faith. On Mar. 8, students packed the gymnasium of St. Matthew’s School in East Syracuse for the “Fan the Fire Youth Rally” an annual event held to get students involved in their Catholic faith and improve their relationship with God. With over 300 youth in attendance, there was a strong turnout for the event, which featured workshops, Mass and a special appearance by “The Bob and Bob Show.”

Bob Rice and Bob Lesnefsky, who are each one half of The Bob and Bob Show, are dynamic youth evangelizers. They have traveled across the country motivating youth to get excited about their faith. Their hour-long presentation to students at St. Matthew’s, which featured a musical performance, inspired them to “stay in shape spiritually.”

“The Bob and Bob Show encouraged students to make decisions that will help them to lead a Christian life,” said Father Richard Prior, parochial vicar at St. Matthew’s Church. “It was a great opportunity for students get together and celebrate their faith with other young adults from the diocese.”

Following The Bob and Bob Show, four workshops were held that gave students insight into issues of significance to Catholic youth. They included “Love Boat,” discussions on dating and relationships; “Life of Vocations,” which explored the call to vocations; “Deep Water,” which showed how to strengthen one’s relationship with Christ; and “Stepping off Shore,” which examined putting one’s complete faith in God. There was also an adult session for youth ministers.

Mason Schultz, a student at St. Matthew’s School, attended the “Deep Water” and “Stepping off Shore” workshops, presented by Rice and Lesnefsky respectively. He said that he particularly enjoyed “Deep Water,” whose title is a reference to the Bible story of Jesus and Peter fishing. Although Peter was afraid to go off and drop the nets into the ocean, Mason recalled, he did because Jesus told him to. It was because of Peter’s faith in Jesus that he caught the fish. Mason said that this story made easy for students to relate to Rice’s message of “no matter what, Jesus will be there for you.”

“Jesus called to Peter and even though he was afraid, he did what Jesus asked,” said Mason, 16. “At times we may be scared to do the right thing. We need to trust in Jesus and He will not let us down.” During “Deep Water” Rice shared his own life experiences as a teenager and explained how at times it was difficult for him to maintain a life of faith. He offered youth practical advice and scripture verses that will be helpful in the future.

“It seemed as if Bob could relate to what teenagers are going through,” said Mason. “I really got something out of the workshop because he gave us advice and passages that we can use to lead a Christian life.” Frank Kastler, a student at St. Matthew’s School, who attended “Fan the Fire Yoth Rally,” said that he and his friends thought the rally was great. He believes that everyone came away from it with a stronger faith in God.

“The day showed us that Jesus really cares about what you do and that He will always be there to help and guide us,” said Frank, 14. “We need to show Him that we care about Him in return by making decisions that make Him happy.”

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