Last Friday night, I had the opportunity to address 150 of our Spirit Day volunteers at their orientation prior to the big event on Saturday and Sunday. The majority of these volunteers were in grades 10, 11, and 12.
“How many of you went to Spirit Day as a grade 7 student?” I asked.
I’d guess that 75% – 80% of the students raised their hands.
I continued, “So why are you volunteering this weekend?”
“To give back,” one student replied.
“So the grade 7s can experience the same joy that I did when I attended,” answered another.
“To make new friends.”
“To share my gifts.”
And then, amidst the excited chatter, one answer spoken softly and humbly shot right through me:
“God. Everything we do this weekend is for Him.”
It was a simple yet profound statement. The previous answers were really good and certainly inspiring and affirming. But the “God” answer seemed to energize me as I went into preacher mode.
I reminded the volunteers that this would be the first taste of the “bigger Church” for many of the grade 7 participants. That they would be not only the hands and feet, but the face of Christ to everyone they would encounter.
I implored them to recall their fond memories of their own Spirit Day. I encouraged them to step out of their comfort zones. And I reminded them to never underestimate the influence and impact of every encounter they would have.
Having said what I needed to say, I left them to continue on with their meeting. Thanks in large part to the service of all our volunteers, the entire Spirit Day weekend was a tremendous success. All in all, there were 2,100 participants (students and chaperones) and close to 200 volunteers.
The theme of Spirit Day was “God’s Building.” Throughout the event, we stressed that each of us is God’s building with Jesus as our foundation and cornerstone. And that God is dwelling in each of us and building us up to be stronger witnesses of our faith.
There were countless examples of how God’s building some wonderful things in our archdiocese:
- I know God’s building when I witness the joy and hope in the faces of the grade 7 students…a true spirit of wonder, awe, and excitement to be there.
- I know God’s building when there are over a dozen priests present to celebrate Mass along with another dozen seminarians serving alongside them.
- I know God’s building when young adults write an intelligent and entertaining script that springs to life on stage via the Stage Team complete with costumes, choreography, and genuine emotion.
- I know God’s building when members of the Logistics Team stand outside all day in the cold and rain just to make the experience a tad more enjoyable for the participants.
- I know God’s building when our Spirit Team are hoarse and dog-tired because of 2 days of screaming, shouting, playing and singing.
- I know God’s building when our Production Team humbly and tireless works behind the scenes to make everyone else look and sound good.
- I know God’s building when our ushers check 2,100 participants for name tags and food at the door…only to pick up after them after each session.
- I know God’s building when people challenge themselves by taking on new leadership roles causing them to push themselves like never before. Similarly, I know God’s building when other leaders take lesser roles for the sake of leadership development.
- I know God’s building when one of the band members tells us that this is the smoothest youth conference he’s ever been a part of. Or when a venue employee tells us that we are the most well-organized group that they deal with.
I know that it sounds like I’m bragging. In fact, I probably am.
But we give all the glory, praise, and honour to God. For through Him, with Him, and in Him, all things are possible.
Everything we accomplished on the weekend was indeed for Him.