Youth to mark bicentennial with ‘Witness 2B Hope’

FRAMINGHAM -- Youth of Boston and beyond are invited to celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of the Archdiocese of Boston at an event specifically chosen for them--the eighth annual Proud 2B Catholic Music Festival. The all-day affair will take place on Saturday, August 9 at the Marist House Retreat Center and will feature several musicians and speakers, Mass with Cardinal Seán O’Malley, reconciliation and adoration.

“We are very grateful and honored that this event will be the official event for the youth of Boston for the bicentennial,” said event organizer Peter Campbell, who founded Campbell Concerts/Proud 2B Catholic, which organizes several similar concerts around the country. These concerts, Campbell said, provide an opportunity for Catholic youth and their families to celebrate and reinvigorate their faith as one large family of God--the Church.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Witness 2B Hope,” which Campbell said touches upon the theme of World Youth Day 2008, taken from the Acts of the Apostles: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses,” and George Weigel’s book, “Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II.”

“Our youth are witnesses of hope for the older Catholics. The adults are given hope and excitement by seeing active Catholic youth at our events,” said Campbell. “Certainly, the youth’s call to be witnesses of hope of the current and future Church goes beyond the boundaries of this event. Many teens, and adults, have had conversions at the Proud 2B Catholic festival, and have gone on to share the faith through words and actions in the real world.”

Although the festival is dedicated to the youth, all ages are welcome. Festivities include performances by Tony Melendez, a well-known Catholic guitarist who was born without arms; Martin Doman of Domini Ministries and Christ Music; Kelly Pease, a young singer and musician; and Zealous, a Catholic rap star. Father Matthew Williams, the new director of the Archdiocesan Office of the New Evangelization for Youth and Young Adults, will serve as one of the hosts of the event.

“Proud 2B Catholic touches young people primarily through the music at the festivals,” said Campbell. “Music is a way to a teenager’s heart and so much of our world has succumbed to popular music with negative, culture of death lyrics; whereas, the Proud 2B Catholic events offer a variety of contemporary Catholic music strictly by Catholic musicians, as well as Catholic speakers.”

The event will run from 1 p.m.-9 p.m. and will include Mass celebrated by Cardinal O’Malley, adoration, reconciliation, inflatable games for the children, an international food court and an interactive learning tent hosted by Holy Cross Family Ministries. There will also be talks by Catholic convert Rob Evans, also known as “The Donut Man”; Didi Jeremie, a Gospel singer; and Sister Olga Yaqob, an Iraqi nun who will give a talk titled “Amidst darkness, love and hope are the final answer.”

Ticket prices were reduced this year to $15 with children 12 years old and under free with an adult admission. Event organizers reduced the ticket prices to allow more people to attend the festival marking the bicentennial anniversary. Campbell expects approximately 2,000 people to attend, but hopes for more. “I hope people take away a renewed fire and hope for the Catholic faith, not only in Boston, but overall,” he said.

Tickets can be purchased online, over the phone, or at the door. The Marist House Retreat Center is located at 518 Pleasant Street in Framingham. For more information about the event, visit To make a donation to defray the cost of running the event, please contact Peter Campbell at 978-535-6300 or