By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
IOWA CITY — This year’s Junior High Youth Rally is “daring” students to actively follow Jesus. The theme, Dare to Follow Me, is intended to encourage students to be proactive in all areas of faith.
“I think the junior high youths will really respond to the challenge,” said Don Boucher, diocesan Faith Formation Office director and coordinator of youth and young adult ministry.
The rally will take place April 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Regina Education Center in Iowa City. Through team-building games, presentations, breakout sessions, music, prayer and more, students will be “dared” to serve, be themselves, slow down, play, sing, ask, forgive, trust, and love themselves.
This year’s keynote presenters are Tony Vasinda – who returns to the conference for the second year in a row – and minister and musician Claire Long. One highlight of the event, Boucher said, is a pilgrimage to St. Mary Parish-Iowa City to walk through the Door of Mercy and celebrate Ma
ss with Bishop Martin Amos. It’s a way for the rally to tie in the Year of Mercy. The youths will walk to the church, which is about 1.5 miles from Regina. Along the way, they will stop at three stations to reflect on an area of mercy and learn how they can take action.
Boucher hopes the rally will give youths a positive large church faith experience where they can feel a sense of belonging to the diocesan church — not just their parish. He also hopes the rally will instill in the youths a strong sense of active faith. “We want them to have an encounter with Jesus and get a sense of where God/Jesus is in their lives.”
Youths can contact their parish’s director of religious education or youth ministry coordinator to register for the event. Early registration is $30 for youths and $20 for adults; deadline is March 21. Late registration is $5 more. Rally T-shirts are available for $10 through March 23.