I chaperoned a group of teens at the Wisconsin Catholic Youth Rally on Saturday. Though my daughter has attended several times, it was my first time. It was truly an amazing day - including Mass with Archbishop Dolan, Eucharistic Adoration, engaging talks and lots of music.
I found the praise and worship music moving (perhaps surprising for a lover of ancient music) and was delighted that there was a generous helping of tradition as well. For example, the Tantum Ergo was sung in Latin during the beautiful Eucharistic procession. All-in-all it was a beautiful day.
There was an amazingly large and enthusiastic group of deacons and seminarians at the rally (as well as a number of priests - but we didn't see as much of them because they spent a great deal of time hearing confessions). I believe there were nine deacons assisting at Mass and we learned that there are presently 40 seminarians studying in the diocese. I'm quite sure that this is part of the incredible legacy of Archbishop Dolan. One deacon, who will be ordained in May and gave a really great talk as well, is from a local parish. I heard that he's the first vocation from that parish in 69 years. He's going to make a great priest.
The most moving moment of the day, for me, was when, after Mass, they invited all of those who were considering a religious vocation to come up in front and receive a blessing from Archbishop Dolan. I believe there were about 50 teens who went up for the blessing. I cried.
Here's a group picture taken after our small group discussion. I love these guys!The black hats were a big hit. :)
P.S. Thanks for the prayers for safe travel (because of the predicted snow storm on Saturday evening). We did get a pretty good storm. When we got back to our car around 9:30 that evening, there was a solid layer of ice on the windows. The roads had been salted by that point though (turned out to be safer than if we had left early) so it wasn't too bad. About half-way home the storm started to look a bit blizzard-ish, but it calmed down soon afterward and I was SO happy to get home! The drive-home conversation with my passengers was terrific!