"And suddenly there came from the
sky a noise like a strong wind,
and it filled the entire house in
which they were. Acts 2:2
More than a dozen years ago, it was my (Ann's) privilege and joy
to chaperone groups of teens from St. Mary Church in Evansville,
IN, to Saint Meinrad's "One Bread, One Cup" summer leadership
conference. Three different summers, I watched as our teens found
great joy in their faith and grew in understanding of what it means
to be Catholic in today's world.
The teens from those summers have long since finished school and
are making their way in the world. The experience at Saint Meinrad
planted their feet on solid ground and helped me remember why I had
agreed to become a youth minister at that point in life. Below is
my journal entry from the end of one of those weeks:
The summer youth leadership week at Saint Meinrad has been
life-changing for more than 100 high school juniors and seniors
from across the country, including eight from my parish. The
closing candlelight prayer service in the Archabbey Church, beneath
soaring gothic arches, stained glass windows and polished woodwork
underscored the reverence and awe that had been building in our
hearts all week.
All too soon, the closing prayer service ended. Lights that had
been dimmed were turned up. We extinguished candles. Then, softly
in the background, the organist played a familiar tune known to
most of our teens. "Lord I Lift Your Name on High"echoed the
gratitude we felt. Voices joined in whispers at first, then rising
with each chorus until, with lights blazing, our praise swelled
into a mighty anthem.
Long ago, a little band of believers, perhaps a hundred or so,
huddled in a room while they waited for what? While praying
quietly, lest authorities hear, a breeze stirred, the air
brightened. Who could have guessed what happened next would turn
the world upside down? Light crossed faces, penetrated hearts and
joy poured out of them like new wine overflowing stone pots at
I look at the hundred or so bright young faces around me, joined
with arms across shoulders, others with arms around waists, swaying
as one body. Louder we sing until, with the weight of our rising
praise, the stained glass windows begin to vibrate.
Another chaperone and I exchange nervous glances, raise an
eyebrow, but there is no stopping these voices. In the presence of
unbridled prayer, praise and organ blending now at full throttle,
souls shake and we are one until, energy spent, the crowd dissolves
into hugs, tears and laughter.
This will not be the first or the last time a small band of
souls, transformed by the Spirit, goes out to change the world.
Prayer: Lord, may we forever lift Your name!
"Lord I Lift Your Name on
Sung by: MercyMe