Testimony, power of Eucharist strengthen youth rally participants


FORT MILL — Good News Ministries of North Carolina organized a Power Rally in Fort Mill on Sept. 8 that provided a path to power for all — not the kind of power that controls or dominates but the power defined as the ability to do something in and through Jesus.

With cooperation of the Catholic youth and adult ministries in the dioceses of Charleston, Charlotte, Raleigh and Savannah, as well as the Archdiocese of Atlanta, the all-day event was filled with music and testimonials from Catholic celebrities such as Jeff Cavins, author and host of EWTN’s “Life on the Rock,” president of Envoy magazine, Matthew Pinto, and local powerhouses such as Franciscan Father Paul Williams, Father Matthew Kauth, and Father Matthew Leonard, who all gave inspiring talks. Bishop William Curlin from the Diocese of Charlotte celebrated the evening liturgy.

In honor of the day that coincided with the birth of the Virgin Mary, Father Kauth, a young priest from St. Matthew Church in Charlotte, led the program with a talk on the Blessed Mother’s message of conversion found in the Gospel. Showing the power of the Scripture quote, “My soul magnifies the Lord,” he described how the Blessed Mother shows her children how to magnify God through love of her son. “The more we believe, the more clearly we will see his face, and we will magnify him to a world that cannot see him. It is a great sign of hope,” said Father Kauth, adding through the Eucharist one is joined with the flesh of Christ as Mary was joined from the moment of Christ’s conception and there is the potential for holiness for everyone.

The next talk to follow was the Power of Prayer, presented by Jeff Cavins, who recently published the book about his spiritual journey called, Life on the Rock.

“Everyone has a call on their life and everyone has tremendous potential depending on what you do with prayer in your life,” began the speaker. He shared a story he heard from USC football coach, Lou Holtz, parishioner of St. Joseph Church in Columbia, about one of his linebackers. While visiting a cemetery, the football player wrote a poem called the “Dash” that was about the dash written on the tombstone that separated the date of birth from the date of passing, reflecting on the importance of the years that dash represents. “When you are gone and pushing daisies, what will your dash say?” asked Cavins, answering later that people are not remembered by their clothes or possessions, but by how much they loved and how much they gave to others.

Cavins also illustrated with his own life and through Scripture how Jesus can take the little given to him and do great things with it. “Nothing is impossible with God. There could be 20 or 25 saints in here, and in 300 years, someone may be praying to you for intercession.”

Cavins shared some painful memories in his youth that nearly destroyed his self-confidence and spoke of how he left the faith as a young adult, making the terrible mistake of “giving up the Eucharist for a good song.” Cavins used these accounts to show how God can take a person who once fainted during public speaking and through God’s grace give him the ability to host a television show and speak all over the country.

It was when Cavins called up some youth to be disciples in a re-enactment of the story of the loaves and fishes that the point of what Jesus can do with a willing heart was driven home. He emphasized Christ words that instructed his followers to give him what they had, and when Christ transformed their gift, they were told to feed the people. When there was nothing left but crumbs, they return to him again for more.

Cavins told the youth that like these disciples, they are called to come to Christ and give him whatever they have in gifts so that he can multiply those gifts for distribution. “When there is nothing left but crumbs, Christ calls us back to be filled through the Eucharist and to go out again into the world and share him with others.”

Although there were many incredible testimonies about lives turned around by surrendering to Christ, it was Father Williams, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua in Greenville, who brought the youth to their feet. After the “preacher” spoke on the power of the Eucharist, everyone seemed ready to start his or her own testimony.

“If you want real power, go to Mass every single day and eat worthily of his flesh and drink worthily his blood and you will have power, Christ’s power,” said the pastor filled with passion, “because Christ said that unless you eat my body and drink my blood you will not have eternal life.”

He also systematically explained away the many misconceptions about the Eucharist; such as it is only symbolic. “If it was only symbolic, people would not have walked away, enough of this intellectualism. Christ said it. The Roman Catholic Church believes it. I believe it. Enough said, don’t you agree,” exclaimed Father Williams as the youth exploded in applause.

Bill Griffith, a teen from St. Mark Church in Charlotte, summed up his experience, “Coming here fills our cup.” If filled with Christ, the youth will do as Bishop Curlin challenged them to do in his homily to take all they heard and apply it to their lives.