Revealing Christ to teens has been the aim of STAR Catholic School’s STAR LIGHT Day for the past two years. LIGHT stands for learn, ignite, grow, help and tell. STAR LIGHT Day brings students from Grades 7 to 12 from around the division together to engage with a keynote speaker and not just reveal Christ, but to allow young people to strengthen or simply ignite a relationship with Jesus, organizers say.
“I find that most youth are desperately seeking a relationship with Christ, even if they don’t realize that’s what they’re looking for,” said Katie Prejean, this year’s keynote speaker at STAR LIGHT Day, on Oct. 21st in Leduc.
“In a world of 140 character thoughts and 10 second videos that disappear, it’s important for teens and young adults to have opportunities to authentically encounter the Lord. In my travels, I’ve found that most teens want this encounter and are thrilled to be given the chance to meet him and want to make the daily commitment to follow him and live for him. But, and here’s the sad part: most of those same teens that want that relationship have no idea where to start. They’ve rarely been given practical tips on how to build the relationship or continue to strengthen the relationship, and if the tips were given, then they often times struggle to follow through because they might be surrounded by a community that isn’t supportive.”
Prejean, a youth director at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church and theology teacher at St. Louis Catholic High School in Lake Charles, Louisiana said there are three things teens need to focus on in strengthening their relationship with Christ.
“Staying connected through prayer, sacrificing joyfully for the good of others, and trusting the will of God above all else. Just like we wouldn’t think to leave on a long trip without our cell phone charger, so too must we think to charge up our soul through daily prayer. It can be simple: a few minutes in the morning, a few minutes before you go to bed at night. Prayer is simply communicating with the Father, talking to Him as simply as you would your best friend or parent,” she said.
“Sacrificing joyfully sounds like an oxymoron – those are two words we don’t usually see put together. The very word ‘sacrifice’ implies some sort of pain or suffering. But, and this is key – when we sacrifice and give of our very selves to others, we are united to Jesus Christ in an incredibly intimate way. Lastly, I think if we are trusting of God’s will more than we rely on our own, then we will find that our relationship with the Lord is strengthened.”
Prejean’s message is brought to students with excitement and joy that literally forces the teens out of their seats and participating and sharing with each other.
Clare Ganton, STAR Catholic’s director of Faith Life and Religious Education said it’s important for students to hear a message as enthusiastic as Prejean’s.
“We share the teachings of the Gospel in our Religion classes and throughout our schools, and parents can share the same message at home, but often it has to come from another voice to really impact some students,” she said. “That’s the great thing about STAR LIGHT Day, which we have been able to host for the past two years. It provides teens with that other voice, one that is excited about Jesus and not just living their faith, but can really engage the students at their level.”
STAR LIGHT Day was started as part of STAR Catholic’s board of trustees’ commitment to evangelization in the school division, and began last year with storyteller Jesse Manibusan.
“The long term vision is for STAR LIGHT Day to be an annual event, celebrated well into the future for many years to come,” confirmed STAR Catholic Superintendent Dr. Troy Davies.
“Response from our students and teachers over the past two years has been tremendous,” said Ganton. “Students are leaving with a message that is positive, but also ways to take what they hear about faith and Christ and live that at their schools, parishes and in their homes or simply every day.”
— submitted by STAR Catholic School Division