Memorial Day weekend with the IVE Religious Family was an awesome, faith filled weekend as we kicked off our 15th annual Youth Festival at St. Patrick’s Retreat Center in Upstate New York. 250 youth from 3 countries joined together with our religious priests, brothers and sisters to celebrate the faith! Young people and volunteers from all around the east coast of the United States, Canada and Surinam participated in sports, formative talks and workshops, entertainment, confessions, adoration and Holy Mass.
Fr. Brian Dinkel, IVE opened up Saturday morning with his plenary talk concerning Christ as the total fulfillment of human happiness. During the course of his talk he explained well how this year’s Youth Festival theme, Blessed are the Pure of Heart, is a beatitude that captures the essence of the happy, Christ-filled soul.
The soccer field was packed and the basketball court was full throughout the weekend while volleyball, ultimate Frisbee, and football kept everyone enjoying the beautiful weather we had our whole stay long. Various workshops given by the brothers and sisters aimed at instructing the youth on the immense value of prayer under the aspect of being children of a God who is Our Father, building friendships rooted in the dignity of the human person and grown through supernatural charity, the importance of the Mass and how to properly participate in it, and the beauty of the consecrated life.
The brothers provided much entertainment with musical combos and skits, including the annual youth festival movie (this year’s, Star Weirds II: Fellowship of the Weirds!), while the sister’s had the youth learning and singing the annual youth festival song, along with all its movements!
On Sunday Morning the youth attended a plenary talk on redemptive suffering. All present were encouraged to take up their daily crosses, all their sufferings, and to unite them with the one Cross of Christ, even if it means laying down your life for the glory of God!
Lastly, we were very fortunate this year to have provided huge party tent to host the Holy Mass and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, especially since the number of retreatants has been growing over the years (we’re growing too big for our church at the top of the hill!). There was much more space for the youth and religious to place themselves in front of Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament, without any cramping discomfort.
The whole Youth Festival Weekend was filled with joy, fun, and grace shared by all!