Many middle school students, who used to attend many activities to widen their faith with God, have not been able to worship during the coronavirus time. Almost all of these kids are unable to even go to church to praise on Sundays and are stuck in their house.Therefore, the people who usually hold the annual youth rally created a Zoom meeting so Junior High students could have a time to be comfortable and forget about what was happening in their lives.
The youth rally this year was near the end of the year, and about 300 students from all over the Los Angeles diocese participated. In the beginning a praise band from a church started by singing a bright and enthusiastic song to create a mood that everyone would enjoy. As the youths started to come in, many people realized that this wasn’t a normal Zoom call. The staff had set it up as a webinar, which did not let students see each other and interact. We were not able to turn our video or audio on to talk to other people because there were too many students who had joined. Still, the people enjoyed listening to the guest speaker plus three assistant students who helped us play games during the two hour Zoom meeting.
The theme for this year’s rally Youth Day was that “Hope never fails.” The guest speaker talked about the fact that in these times, even if it is hard to believe in this strong statement, as long as we believe in God we would be able to get through this together. Exercises were held to explain more thoroughly about how even if we see all the problems, if we focus on these issues we would never be able to see the solution. After an hour, students were left to play a little game to get us through the next half of the speech.
Also, during the middle of the speech, the praise band had come again to sing for us and pray with us. Even though it was online, everyone could feel how happy they were to sing for us and really make us feel the same way. Finally, in the last half we talked more about how “Hope never fails,” and how to really look only at the solutions instead of the problem. The three ways we could understand the theme was to talk about being grateful, connect, and remember. First, one needs to think of what they are grateful for as much as they can. Next, remembering to connect with the people that one trusts even if it is hard at this time. Finally, trying to remember the happy times that happened in the past and reflecting on it.
One middle school student that participated in the rally explained, “It was really eye-opening because it’s always so easy to see the bad and hard things about our lives, but so hard to be able to look beyond all of that and appreciate the small but good things. The rally helped me see that if we keep focusing on the problem, we’ll never be able to see the solution.”
We hope that those who attended the rally can meet soon in person next year to relate and communicate with each other. But until then, online youth rallies will continue.