Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Junior High Faith Day participants ‘Let Go and Let God’
by Jami LeBrun, Inland Register staff
(From the Nov. 11, 2004 edition of the Inland Register)
The Junior High Faith Day at Gonzaga Prep last month included plenty of mental, spiritual, and physical activities, including creation of a human pyramid. (IR photo from Jackie Keyes)
Eighty middle school youth from the Spokane Diocese rallied together at Gonzaga Preparatory School in Spokane on Saturday, October 16, to celebrate the eighth annual Faith Day, along with 20 adult chaperones, youth ministers and high school volunteers.
Faith Day is an annual event that brings middle school youth together to learn about and celebrate the Church. The youth attended workshops, heard talks, played games, participated in skits and built crafts all centered around this years’ theme, “Let Go and Let God.”
The keynote speaker and Master of Ceremonies was David Gaines, a college sophomore at Gonzaga University, who delivered a 30-minute talk on the four pillars of the Church: the Creed, the sacraments, the Ten Commandments and prayer. He also served as music minister for the liturgy.
“Faith Day is a great opportunity to excite middle school youth about our Church and to make them see that our Church is full of richness, excitement and truth,” said Gaines. “Having a focus day like this can help anyone realize those things about the Church.”
Gaines was assisted by some of the Diocesan Youth Council members, who helped lead ice breakers and prayer, and worked diligently behind the scenes to make the day a success.
The afternoon workshops centered around prayer and were lead by youth ministers from throughout the diocese. Middle school participants learned how to pray through a variety of means, including the Stations of the Cross, the rosary, spontaneity, journaling, the media, nature and even music.
Youth ministers who brought groups of students said that Faith Day is an excellent opportunity for junior high students to learn about their faith and make it their own while intermingling with students from other churches.
“All the activities were set at the pace and length of the attention span of a junior high kid, so it was neat for them to go to a day of faith activities planned and oriented specifically for them,” said Michaela Kearns, Youth Minister at St. Joseph Parish in Colbert. “I think that’s why they got so much out of it.”
Jackie Keyes, the Youth Minister at St. Patrick Parish in Pasco, brought 17 students to Faith Day.
“I thought it was great especially for our kids who are outside Spokane to be able to connect to the larger Church,” said Keyes. “It’s also helpful for junior high kids to have something that’s created especially for them and their needs. It’s a whole new experience for them to be able to do retreats that are geared towards them. They’re just beginning to take the foundation from religious education and trying to make some sense out of it all for themselves. It’s an opportunity for them to understand their faith and own it.”
Though the participants spent the day learning, they still had a great time.
“Junior High Faith Day was a great time for junior high youth to play energizing games together, learn about many different kinds of prayer in their workshops and worship together,” said Kearns. “At the end of the day my kids were having such a good time that they didn’t want to go home.”
Gaines said Faith Day is really helpful to middle school students.
“It’s a great opportunity to meet other middle school kids who are just as curious as you are about the Church,” he said. “This gives an opportunity to satisfy that curiosity in a safe and fun environment.”
The next Faith Day is April 23, 2005 at St. Patrick Parish in Pasco. The theme is “Jesus Rocks!”