“Be radical! Be Catholic! Don’t hold back!” said Jesse Manibusan from the arena stage. And they didn’t—all 20,000+ young people who gathered in the Anaheim Convention Center for the opening rally of Youth Day.
This is a tribal affair, with groups from parishes up and down the West Coast arriving in their various stripes: Our Lady of Malibu, St. Bonaventure’s, Sacred Heart, Blessed Kateri Tekawitha, one group sporting orange t-shirts, another in green, others in turquoise, red, black, yellow, blue and so on. Because this is St. Patrick’s Day, there are green hats and shamrock pins and beads left over from Mardi Gras. Festive is the order of the morning.
This is a party where you will feel the love—of Jesus, that is, through the energy and spirit of those gathered here. Jesse and Pedro Rubalclava move the crowd to praise with song and movement: “Yes, Lord … Si, Senor … Amen!” in as many languages it seems as there are countries in the world. Even the stalwarts cannot help but be inspired.
And it’s all for the love of God, Jesus. The brilliant California sky is no match for the sunny faces one sees here. It’s an experience of body and soul, sights, sounds and colors focused on the love of God in all creation.
Tomorrow, at Congress, will be the day for thoughts, ideas, words and wisdom. Inspiration and motivation of course, and sensate gatherings as well—especially the opening ceremony at 9 a.m. But it will still pale a bit compared to the unabashed love and devotion that roars through the crowd of young people here today at the arena.