By Tim Harfmann
For seventh grader Grace Carlin, attending the 2019 Brooklyn and Queens Catholic Youth Day was an eye-opening experience. “It’s incredible because you don’t really know how much God has impacted anybody until you really see it,” said Carlin, who attends Saint Francis de Sales Catholic Academy in Belle Harbor, Queens.
Carlin joined nearly 1,200 other young people for the diocese’s special rally in Brooklyn’s Windsor Terrance neighborhood. Their theme was ‘Ignite.’
“The fire begins with one match and spreads. I think that is what’s going to happen with these young men and women from the diocese. They’re going to ignite each other in the fire of the spirit,” said Brooklyn Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros.
The bishop celebrated Mass for the young women and men, who also had the opportunity to go to confession and adore the Blessed Sacrament. “If you come as a Church, He has to be the center of it all. It is Jesus that will ignite our hearts, our lives,” said Bishop Cisneros.
For Tiffany Chyke-Okpuzor, a Queens high school senior, all of the day’s activities, including live music and motivational speakers, moved her spirit. “I feel that music is a way for everyone to just get up and have fun. So, with music that praises God, it can make other young people understand that Church is not boring. It can actually be lively and fun and interesting,” said Chyke-Okpuzor.
Paul Morisi, director of youth and young adult formation in the Brooklyn diocese, helped rally the young people on Saturday, March 29th; “Usually we get some young people who start off kind of sluggish on a Saturday morning, but once they hear the music, see there’s a bishop here with them, and there’s some praise and worship opportunities; by the end of the day, they’re really excited. So, it’s a wonderful opportunity to see that transformation in young people.”
Chyke-Okpuzor judged the youth day to be a big success, and she’s ready to ignite the faith when she’s back at her Saint Clare parish in Rosedale, Queens. “It inspires me to continue helping others and to continue bringing other people to be able to experience the same experience I had at these youth days,” said Chyke-Okpuzor.