PROVIDENCE — Inspired speakers, music, new friends with a shared faith, adoration by candlelight: what a day for the youth of the Ocean State. Last year kicked off the first-ever Diocesan Youth Day, a high-energy, prayer-filled event attended by hundreds of young people who left inspired with the love of Christ.
The Office of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Providence has announced that this year’s Diocesan Youth Day (DYD), will be held on September 7, with the theme “Anchored.” The one of a kind event, to be held at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Cumberland, will feature national guest speaker from New Orleans, Dr. Ansel Augustine.
In a special video invitation, Dr. Augustine shared that he is so looking forward to sharing his inspired message, anchored in the faith, with Rhode Island youth this September.
“We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors and that’s who anchor us in their sacrifices of faith so that we could be here today,” he said. “When we gather in Rhode Island, that’s what we will be talking about, how our faith anchors us to make a better way in society. In this life, as we go through currents, challenges and all those things that take us in all different directions we are called to remember who we are, and whose we are as children of God so that we can make a better way for others.”
Dr. Augustine began his career in ministry more 20 years ago when he became the youth minister at his home parish of St. Peter Claver in the Treme area of New Orleans, which he helped to rebuild following Hurricane Katrina. He is the former Director of the Office of Black Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of New Orleans and is also on the faculty of the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana. Dr. Augustine has served on the board of directors for the National Catholic Young Adult Ministry Association (NCYAMA) and the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM). He has presented workshops and keynotes around the country.
Julie Bradley, director of Faith Formation at Saint Paul Church in Cranston, who brought a group from her parish to last year’s DYD, said it was engaging from the moment they arrived. Her students liked that they had the opportunity to choose which small-group sessions to attend, which made the event a lot more personal and meaningful for them.
“We are extremely fortunate to have an event like this on the local level,” said Bradley. It’s so easy to attend and it’s affordable. I think it is very important to provide our youth with lots of different opportunities to grow in faith.”
Diocesan Youth Day is a day were youth can fall in love with Jesus, Bradley added.
“It’s all about helping youth discover and experience the love that Jesus has for them, and that they are never alone in the storms of life. This year, the message of the keynote speaker, the activities, the music and all of the break-out sessions will be that we can weather the storms when we stay connected to each other, and when we stay anchored in our faith. I think that is such a great message of hope and I’m so glad that the youth of my parish will get to experience it.”
Joel Perez, a parishioner of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Providence, attended last year’s DYD. He shared that the day was a great opportunity for fellowship with other young people who take their Catholic faith seriously.
“Church shouldn’t be an afterthought. It should be something that’s the most important thing in our lives,” Perez said. “We should all try to communicate with God better, like we do with other people.”
Louise ‘Duce’ Dussault, director of Catholic Youth Ministry for the diocese, explained that this year’s DYD will feature more chances for the Sacrament of Reconciliation as well as a new opportunity for youth to meet local priests and religious to learn about their vocations.
“Diocesan Youth Day is a special way to implement the recommendations of the Extraordinary Synod [Pope’s Exhortation “Christus Vivit” – Christ is Alive!] and focus on relationship building between youth and Christ,” she said. It is an incredible opportunity for the whole diocese to celebrate the joy of the faith.”
Save the Date for the Diocesan Youth Day: September 7, 2019, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Our Lady of Fatima Church, Cumberland. For more information about the event or to volunteer, email email@example.com or visit catholicyouthri.com.