PROVIDENCE — Every other month, in the basement of St. Patrick Church, Providence, more than 100 young people gather to worship and pray in community. While the upbeat worship band and large staff might give the appearance of a paid event, the nights are organized by Revive Ministry, a volunteer-run ministry that provides worship and retreat experiences to young people at St. Patrick Church and beyond. The volunteers themselves are rarely older than high school or college-aged, making Revive Ministry this year’s recipient of a Lumen Gentium Award in the category of Distinguished Catholic Youth.
Revive began about eight years ago when young people from the St. Patrick Church youth group formed a music ministry and began playing at worship nights and the parish’s summer tent revival. After putting on the first Revive Retreat in 2012, the group decided to expand the ministry to reach young people beyond their parish.
“We prayed and discerned that the Lord was calling us to move from concert nights and retreats to an entire youth ministry, not only to serve St. Pat’s, but to serve Rhode Island,” said Emily Cuellar, director of ministry.
Now, the ministry includes bimonthly worship nights, an annual retreat at La Salette Shrine and a worship band that plays events for other parishes and ministries around Rhode Island. While worship nights continue to be based at St. Patrick Church, more than half of the attendees come from outside the parish, most of them high school students searching for a supportive space to worship and spend time with their peers.
“They may not be searching for God, but what they are searching for is an identity,” said Alex Cuellar, co-head of music for the ministry. “We’re just helping them figure out who they are and how God comes into the picture.”
Ministry members attributed much of Revive’s success to its ability to help young people identify their talents and use them to serve others, whether that be through music, managing events or simply providing prayerful support. They also thanked Father James Ruggieri, pastor at St. Patrick Church, and Father Scott Carpentier, chaplain and advisor to the ministry, for their support and mentorship as the ministry has grown over the years.
“A lot of them are growing in their own faith, so that’s a great witness to the youth they encounter in their own passion for the Lord and their church,” said Father Carpentier.
Over the next several weeks, Rhode Island Catholic will feature profiles of the winners of the diocese’s 2018 Lumen Gentium Awards, which formally recognize those who ‘toil in the vineyard’ in service to the Lord, and minister to those in greatest need in their parish or community. The honorees will be awarded during a dinner at Twin River Event Center in Lincoln on Wednesday, May 16. Guests wishing to purchase tickets to the dinner — whose proceeds will support Diocesan Hispanic Ministries — are asked to register online at www.dioceseofprovidence.org/lumen-gentium-awards. For any questions about the event, please call 401-277-2121.