An estimated 600 students attended the Second Annual “Love My Life” Youth Rally Saturday, January 14, 2012, at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Raleigh. The event, sponsored by the Diocesan Pro-Life Office, is held in conjunction with the Annual Diocesan Mass for Life and the North Carolina Right to Life Rally in Raleigh.
The 90-minute rally featured prayer, music and speakers. Bishop Michael F. Burbidge told the teenagers how proud he was “to look out and see so many of you here on this Saturday morning.” Noting his homily from the Mass for Life earlier in the morning, Bishop Burbidge said, “You can make a difference in our world. Your life has meaning.”
That theme was echoed by Mr. Russell Hoyt, emcee of the youth rally and Youth Minister at St. Luke Catholic Church in Raleigh. “Jesus is pro-life,” Hoyt said. “Your life has value. It is worth Jesus’ life. Pro-life is to have love in your heart. Before you can love others, you must love yourself first.”
Father Anthony DeCandia, Campus Minister at North Carolina State University, enlivened the gathering with the refrain “God is good! All the time!” In his prayer, Father DeCandia said, “Help us, oh Lord, to live the faith we proclaim.”
Pointing to the fact that Jesus died between two thieves, Father DeCandia said, “You can be like the bad thief or like the good thief. The bad thief was self-absorbed. He didn’t see the sign above Jesus' head that said ‘King of the Jews.’ The good thief turned to Jesus,” Father DeCandia said, and “professed his belief saying, ‘Remember me Lord, when you come into your kingdom.’”
Mike Bobrowski of New Bern, a student at Christendom College in Virginia, called the rally inspirational. “It was wonderful to see so many young Catholics here for such an important reason.”
Hannah Glennon of Morehead City agreed. “I heard about the rally from our youth minister,” Ms. Glennon said. “I was not expecting it to be like this. I thought there would be more talks. This was better than I imagined. I’ll be back next year.”
Russell Hoyt, who emceed the rally for the second year, said it was more than he anticipated, adding the teens were more enthusiastic than last year. “The spirit of this generation is excited to bring the pro-life message to their peers,” Hoyt said. “They are so much more involved in current events.” He paid tribute to Bishop Burbidge, who provides an “incredible witness for young people.”
Following the youth rally, many of the students joined Bishop Burbidge in the North Carolina Right to Life Rally and March. The Bishop provided the invocation. “Today, we gather to walk together on behalf of the greatest gift God has given to us, the gift of life,” Bishop Burbidge said. “Let our walk be a message to our political leaders that life must be protected at every stage. Let life spring forth in the hearts of all people.”
Mr. Ed Manz, Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus Our Lady of the Rosary Council in Shallotte, said a group from his parish, St. Brendan the Navigator Church, made the trip to show support for the pro-life cause. “We pray the rosary every Friday morning for life,” Manz said. “This weekend we will be holding a fund raiser with proceeds going to help a home for expectant mothers.”
Mrs. Sue Mroz, a member of the Pro-Life Committee at St. Bernadette in Fuquay-Varina, said her parish conducts a spiritual adoption for the unborn. She explained that it is a nine month prayer offering and that at the end of the nine months, a celebration is held in the parish.
Mr. Rick Chambless, a member of Holy Family Church in Hillsborough, said the Pro-Life Committee at his parish holds an annual Day of the Unborn Child, gathering on the steps of the court house for prayer.
On January 23, several thousand Catholics from the Diocese of Raleigh and the Diocese of Charlotte will travel to the nation’s capital for the annual North Carolina Mass, which will be celebrated at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at 11:30 AM. Bishop Burbidge will be the Homilist. Bishop Peter J. Jugis of Charlotte will be Principal Concelebrant.
Following the Mass, North Carolina Catholics will join the Bishops in the Annual March for Life down Constitution Avenue to the U.S. Supreme Court.
View gallery of NC Right to Life Rally
View gallery of Youth Rally
Watch Father Anthony DeCandia’s remarks at “Love My Life” Youth Rally (Windows Media)
Watch interview with Mr. Mike Bobrowski, New Bern (Windows Media)
Watch interview with Mrs. Sue Mroz, Fuquay-Varina (Windows Media)
Watch interview with Mr. Russel Hoyt, “Love My Life” emcee (Windows Media)
Above: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge addressing students at the Second Annual "Love My Life" Youth Rally. (Click photo to view larger.)
Above: Diocese of Raleigh faithful present in North Carolina Right to Life March in Raleigh. (Click photo to view larger.)