Youth Rally for Life doubles in size

COLUMBIA—Sarah Dalton, 14, and Rachel Dalton, 16, stood with hundreds of other teens at Township Auditorium on Jan. 14, listening to speakers and musicians talk about the importance of a commitment to Christ and the sanctity of life.

The sisters, who attend St. John Church in North Charleston, were thrilled by the fourth annual South Carolina Catholic Youth Rally for Life, sponsored by Diocese of Charleston’s Office of Youth and Young Adults Ministry, and Office of Family Life.

The celebration coincides with the annual Stand Up for Life Rally at the Statehouse, and is a chance for youth to learn more about the pro-life message and meet others committed to the cause.

“The whole rally has just had a good feeling, with great music and good spiritual lessons,” Sarah said.

“We doubled the numbers we had last year, and we’re just expecting this to grow and get better and better,” said Jerry White, diocesan director of youth ministry.

This was the event’s second year at the Township. The first two rallies were held at St. Peter and St. Joseph churches in Columbia.

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone celebrated Mass for the crowd of almost 1,000.

Adorno Father Teodoro “Ted” Kalaw, parochial vicar at Jesus Our Risen Savior in Spartanburg, said the gift of Christ through the Eucharist equipped Catholics with a special instinct for spreading the Gospel.

“We must bring the message into the world,” he said. “We are eucharistic people united in the spirit and the call to life. We must witness the Gospel of life in our daily life, in our school, in our workplace, wherever we are. Life must be respected and your youthful spirit will give testimony to it!”

Music was by the Ike Ndolo Band, a Phoenix based Catholic contemporary quartet that performs potent praise-and-worship sounds mixed with rock, alternative and acoustic influences. One of the band’s strongest numbers was an uptempo version of the classic spiritual “Wade in the Water.”

Patrick Gorospe, 16, of St. Anne Church in Rock Hill; Will Victor, 18, of St. Mary Help of Christians Church in Aiken; and Mary Beth Vernau, 18, of Our Lady of the Lake Church in Chapin, suggested ways for the students to educate others about life issues on a daily basis at school, work and in the community.

Vernau became interested in pro-life work after attending the National March for Life in Washington, D.C.

“You could see everybody at the rally was really on fire for the Holy Spirit,” she said. “I urge any young people interested in teaching others to be pro-life to truly dig into the issue, because you have to know why you believe what you believe.”

“I can remember youth gatherings from when I was growing up, and this has so much more substance,” said the Daltons’ mom, Betsy Dalton. “The kids now are really being challenged to learn about issues. I think the rally at the Statehouse and this rally have both been so meaningful. I’m proud to see the church be strong, and to see people willing to teach something that flies in the face of popular thought. It’s very exciting to see all these young people hear the truth.”

Updated Jan. 31, 2012: Corrected sponsorship to include the Office of Family Life.