AYF 2012: RESTLESS
click here to view photos from the event
On March 10, the Abbey and Seminary College hosted the 12th Annual Abbey Youth Fest, a day of prayer, talks and music for Catholic youth from the Gulf South area. Designed to provide young people with an opportunity to experience a day of prayer and faith formation with an exposure to the Benedictine tradition, the Fest has grown from its first year in 2001 with an attendance of 1,200, to a day which this year attracted 3,800 participants. The theme, "Restless: My Soul Rests in God Alone," continued the purpose of the Fest, the promotion of vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
The day was dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe and began with a procession of roses in her honor. Mark Hart, Executive Vice President for Life Teen International, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, and a best-selling and award-winning author (or co-author) of a dozen books, gave the opening talk. Later in the day, Fr. Kyle Dave of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in Lacombe, LA., spoke on the search of our restless hearts for our vocation. The closing talk, an introduction to the period of candlelight adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, was given by Mother Adela Galindo, founder of a religious institute of sisters, "Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary," in the Archdiocese of Miami.
Archbishop Gregory Aymond of New Orleans celebrated the Vigil Mass with the assistance of Archbishop Alfred Hughes of New Orleans, Bishop Robert Meunch of Baton Rouge, Abbot Justin Brown of Saint Joseph Abbey, and over 20 visiting priests. At the end of Mass, Archbishop Aymond invited all those who were considering a call to the priesthood or religious life to come forward. After the sun set, the participants concluded the day with Vespers, the Evening Prayer of the Church.
Music for the day was provided by the seminarian band Covenant 7, the Christian Rock group, Ayleron, and the Cajun band, L'Angelus.
The fest is held in one of the open fields on the Abbey grounds. Much credit for its success is due the seminarian student body who, under the direction of the seminary coordinator for the event, Ms. Kit Baumann and Mr. Brian Butler of the Dumb Ox Productions in the New Orleans Archdiocese, begin preparation for the event early in the school year. This year's student committee, under the chairmanship of Michael Richard (Lafayette) included John Knight (Atlanta), J. D. Matherne (Houma-Thibodaux), R. J. Regalado (Corpus Christi), and Joseph Dunbar (Mobile), who led their fellow seminarians in the year of work that culminates on the day of the Fest.