In Montebello: Learning to be ‘deeply present to God’

Students from St. Athanasius School, Long Beach, arrive for the LA Youth Rosary Rally at Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary High School May 7. — Credit: SR. NANCY MUNRO, CSJ

A four-hour rally with prayer at its heart drew approximately 1,200 students from archdiocesan schools May 7 at Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary High School in Montebello.

During the LA Youth Rosary Rally, presented by the archdiocese and Holy Cross Family Ministries, participating elementary and high school students each received a new rosary, prayed for concerns around the world, sang spiritual songs, heard from Archbishop José Gomez and ValLimar Jansen, formed a living rosary, and learned how to find time for prayer and peace in their own fast-paced worlds.

Archbishop Gomez pointed out to the assembled students “how very much God wants to be our friend,” and, as with any friendship or relationship, “dialogue is essential.”

And there are many ways to approach God, he added, but the key is to maintain that dialogue. “As we talk with God,” he said, “we will improve in the way we are, grow in the knowledge of our faith and in who we are.”

Music was provided by “Elev8,” Christi Given and a combined choir from St. Monica High School and parish under the direction of Ed Archer. Hospitality was provided by Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary’s student ambassadors (“Cardinal Reps”) who greeted students arriving by bus and escorted them to their seats.

Also at the rally was Holy Cross Father Wilfred Raymond, who for the last 14 years has been the national director of Family Theater Productions. As of July 1 he will be based in Massachusetts as the new president of Holy Cross Family Ministries, serving 17 countries.

“I think it is important for young people to be gathered with so many other young people and praying together,” noted Father Raymond, who called the rosary “the glue” in many people’s prayer lives.

“When I was growing up in a family of 12,” he recalled, “we said the rosary after dinner every night, and in French. Today we don’t have many chances to pray or contemplate. So the rosary is a way for many of us to slow down, focus and be deeply present to God in prayer.”


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