By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
Teens gathered at Bellarmine University’s Frazier Hall on Nov. 22 were told by keynote speaker Jesse Manibusan to “stand up, reach out and serve others.”
Manibusan was speaking to 350 teens and adult participants, representing 44 parishes across the archdiocese, as part of Quest — a daylong youth rally sponsored by the Archdiocese of Louisville’s youth and young adult ministry.
The biennial retreat day included breakout sessions, each focused on a different social justice issue, including hunger, homelessness and the dignity of life.
The event was planned by members of the archdiocesan Youth Advisory Board (YAB), the archdiocese’s youth ministry staff, including Dr. Carole Goodwin and Karl Dolson; Bellarmine’s campus ministry department; and a committee of youth ministers.
Mirna Lozano, a YAB member, said a lot of work and dedication went into planning Quest.
“There is a lot of organization and preparation each committee goes through,” said Lozano, a parishioner at St. Dominic Church in Springfield, Ky., and a student at Bethlehem High School.
Natalie Taul, also a YAB member, said preparing for Quest allowed the YAB members to reflect on social issues such as hunger and homelessness. Taul is a parishioner at St. Martha Church and attends Mercy Academy.
Manibusan, a nationally-known Catholic speaker and musician, offered the day’s keynote address. Manibusan, a self-described “catechist, encourager and joy cultivator,” held the teens’ attention by lacing contemporary and praise music into his address. His self-deprecating humor created a light-hearted atmosphere where the teens were free to stand up and sing along with him.
In a more serious portion of his address, Manibusan said the only thing that prevents us from manifesting our faith is fear.
“Fear is not a bad thing. Fear is simply an emotion,” he said. “It’s a moment for faith. It’s a moment for courage.”
To overcome fear, he said, we must have faith. Faith, if only the size of a mustard seed, changes everything, he added.
Manibusan frequently reiterated his point by encouraging the youth to repeat refrains such as “Who is the church? We are! Where is the church? Right here!,” and “This is a call to stand up, reach out and serve others!”
He said that media outlets tend to portray Pope Francis in a “skewed view” and we should take their view “with a quarter grain of salt.”
“The Holy Father is not liberal or conservative but Holy Father Pope Francis is radically Catholic,” he said.
His approach, Manibusan said, is mercy and compassion which is “what we are about in the Archdiocese of Louisville.”
“Right here in front of us is the young church leading by example, not just by word,” he said. “This is nothing new. This is who we are. This is real.
“The Holy Spirit is always with us but from time to time we need moments like this (at Quest) to wake up.”
Later in the evening, the teens loaded a Society of St. Vincent de Paul truck with non-perishable food items they brought to the youth rally.