Local News Archive
Print Issue: June 6, 2002
Songs, Juggling And Brother-Sister Team Highlight Middle School Track
By Rebecca Rakoczy, Staff Writer
COLLEGE PARK - "Our God is an awesome God, he reigns, from heaven above." Using hand movements to illustrate the popular hymn, the group of more than 400 middle schoolers who had gathered in the Sheraton Ballroom for their track sang and danced. Energized by the music of Rick Reed and his musicians, and pumped up by middle school track leaders and 40 volunteers - "awesome God" was a theme that was echoed throughout the day, as preteens moved freely about the room, dancing, performing in skits and listening to speakers who entertained and informed them about what it means to be Catholic.
Among the visitors was ApeX, a juggling team who adapted Grimm Fairy Tales into Christian parables - while flinging balls and pins in the air; Father Kevin Peek, an Atlanta archdiocesan priest, who mesmerized and challenged his young audience on the complex mysteries of the Church and the bread of life; and the brother-sister duo of Father John Hopkins, LC, and his sister, Sister Catherine Marie, OP, a Dominican Religious from Nashville, Tenn.
Confession was the surprise draw for the day; at one point, Father Kevin Peek spent three hours giving the sacrament of reconciliation to dozens of middle schoolers, said Deacon Lloyd Sutter, who helped coordinate the track. Father Peek was joined by a new priest, Father Jim Larson, a Legionnaire priest who will be taking Father Hopkins place at the Donnellan School this year. (Father Hopkins has been assigned to Rome by his order.)
While Father Peek interacted with the students, urging those gathered in the Sheraton Ballroom to look at the Mass as an extension of the Last Supper; Father Hopkins and his sister shared some sibling bantering for a while before getting serious about Mass and individual responsibility toward Christ.
"Did anyone ever think adoration was, BORING?" Father Hopkins asked the throng of preteens, near the end of the session. "Did anyone ever think Mass was BORING?"
His queries sent heads nodding throughout the crowd of 10-, 11-, and 12-year-old girls and boys.
But going to Mass was "to make Jesus feel good," he said. "When was the last time you went to Mass to make Jesus feel good? How does Jesus feel when you don't go to Mass? Every mass is a separate meeting with the person of Christ."
He added that adoration was to increase love for Jesus. "You can't say you love a person you don't spend time with."
His sister also spoke about the power of adoration. "You may not experience anything like miracles . . . but you will be affected by this state of grace. If God gives you no feeling - that's OK," she said. "He is working in your soul."
The day ended with the presentation of the Blessed Sacrament to the middle schoolers.