Youths raise their hands and clap to the music during Mass at the Proud 2B Catholic Music festival held on the grounds of the Marist House in Framingham Aug. 11. The festival provided more than 1,000 attendees with a full day of music, games, talks and worship. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy
FRAMINGHAM -- Fellowship and celebrating faith with hundreds of other Catholic teens brings them back each year to the Proud 2B Catholic Music Festival. More than 1,000 Catholic youth and their families gathered at the Marist House Aug. 11 for the seventh annual concert, entitled “Power 2B Faithful.”
The daylong event, organized by Campbell Concerts, featured live music, talks and children’s activities as well as Mass, adoration and confession.
Sam Bouchard, a 16-year-old from Maine, said he liked the festival so much last year that he came again this year. Sam said he most likes participating in the Mass and other Catholic activities.
“I like the adoration here,” he added.
Liz Molloy, a student in physical therapy at Northeastern University, said she also attended two years in a row.
“I love the idea of having it as an open place to be with your friends and celebrate being Catholic together,” she said.
A Catholic father from Connecticut, Steve Moran, said that his teens feel supported by the fellowship they find each year at Proud 2B Catholic.
“What I get the most out of is the Mass,” he said. “It’s the highlight for us.”
Father Daniel Hennessey, director of the Vocations Office in the archdiocese, had a booth set up in the exhibitor tent and said he hoped the concert will spur Catholic youth to think about what God is calling them to.
“It’s really inspiring to see so many young people who have a love for the Church and the Catholic faith,” he said. “It’s a great sign of hope and also for vocations.”
Peter Campbell organized the first Proud 2B Catholic Music Festival in 2001. Campbell Concerts has since expanded and this year sponsored four family-friendly events in addition to the Framingham Music Festival. The events included a youth fest on Long Island, N.Y. May 19, a family festival in Kennebunk, Maine July 7 as well as upcoming music festivals in Sulphur, La. Sept. 8 and in Toronto, Canada Oct. 13.
Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley said in a letter of endorsement that Campbell Concerts has been a source of “grace for evangelization and unification of Catholic youth,” which draws them together to proudly proclaim their faith.
At this year’s festival, Catholic musical performers included Matt Maher, Father Stan Fortuna, Righteous B, Ben Walther and recent convert Rob Evans, also known as “The Donut Man.”
The festival also featured several talks, including “Jesus and the Church vs. the Culture of Death” with Jesse Romero, a music ministry workshop with Martin Doman, and the witness of newly-ordained Father Darin Colarusso, a former fighter pilot.
Al Getler, a ventriloquist and former Catholic youth minister, spoke on the topic of “Youth Ministry for Dummies.” Youth ministers need to use the contemporary to catch teens’ attention and communicate Catholic teachings, he said.
He encouraged those working with teens to use modern tools like the Internet and text-messaging. He also exhorted teens to help build their youth programs.
“It’s up to you, the teens, to bring people into the youth program,” he said. “It’s your job to minister to your peers.”
After his talk, Getler brought out several of his puppets. The ventriloquist’s act included Miss McNealy, an elderly dummy, who said she plays basketball in her “grandma Nikes.”
“I’m the center,” she said, adding “the senior center.”
During the afternoon, Holy Cross Family Ministries hosted an interactive learning tent where children could go to sing praise and worship songs, make rosary prayer books, and play video games based on the Gospels.
Children at the festival also enjoyed the inflatable games area. Many children and teens enjoyed the sunny summer day by tossing baseballs, throwing flying discs and playing other games while listening to the live music.
All of the activities ceased for the Sunday vigil Mass at 5:30 p.m., celebrated by Father Fortuna, who had taken the stage earlier in the day to sing. Father Fortuna, a member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, has recorded several albums with jazz, folk, reggae and rap songs.
During his homily, Father Fortuna focused on the importance of being in communion with the Lord. Many people seek fulfillment through their feelings, which come and go. For instance, some say they are bored at Mass, he said.
“You are deeply and profoundly bored before you walk into the church, and when you come into the presence of the Almighty in the fullness of love, it is then that the awareness of your boredom begins to bubble,” he said.
Many people merely distract themselves from their boredom by turning something on, changing the channel, upgrading or downloading. This constant activity only “feeds the boredom beast,” he said.
He encouraged all Catholics to seek “the fullness of love,” which includes weekly Mass, monthly confession and staying connected to God through daily prayer, he said.
After Mass the concert’s headliner, Matt Maher, urged the crowd to stand up and “give a Red Sox shout” to the Creator.
“God made baseball,” he said. “God gave man the ability to pitch 90 miles an hour and hit a ball 450-550 feet.”
Therefore, God deserves even more praise than baseball teams since he is infinitely greater than the sport he created, he added.
Maher also led the music for an hour of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at the concert’s close. He told those gathered to focus on God and adore Jesus, whom they had just received in the Eucharist at Mass.
He said of the crowd, “I’m looking at a giant tabernacle. I’m looking at a giant monstrance.”
For more information about the Proud 2B Catholic Music Festival, visit www.proud2bcatholic.com.