Bishop John O. Barres of the Diocese of Rockville Centre led a Holy Hour for the young people of the Diocese at Chaminade Friday. A Holy Hour is a Catholic tradition of prayer and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. This was Bishop Barres' first Holy Hour for vocations since being installed as the fifth Ordinary of the Diocese in January.
Nearly 500 high-school- and college-age men and women of the Diocese packed Chaminade's Darby Auditorium to hear the bishop reflect on the importance of living a life of faith, the challenges that come along with it, and the role of young people in the contemporary Church. The evening included Eucharistic Adoration, prayer, music, camaraderie, and an organized sporting event. Over the last several years, the diocese has organized Holy Hours to promote the fellowship and spiritual growth of its young-adult population.
"You can make a difference," Bishop Barres said to those assembled. "It is in your beautiful experience with your friends, your compassion for them, that you can with the greatest gentleness invite them back to Mass and tell them what the Body and Blood of Christ mean to you. The Lord is calling you in little ways and in big ways. The deeper you open your heart, the deeper you open your life."
Bishop Barres went on to say, "Life moves very quickly. Let's invest our lives well. Let's open our souls to the Holy Spirit and to the power of the Mass. Allow the Holy Spirit to show our true path to eternal life."
For some participants, the evening served as their first opportunity to meet Bishop Barres.
"Consecrated religious form the foundation of our Church," said Nicholas Richardson, a Chaminade junior. "It was overwhelming to see so many people, on a Friday night, joining together to pray for vocations. It's also clear that the Bishop is dedicated to taking the time to meet the young people of our Diocese, and that we are an important part of its mission."
The Marianists of the Province of Meribah, a religious order of brothers and priests that owns and operates three schools on Long Island, including Chaminade, welcomed the Bishop to the event.
"The Bishop is an enthusiastic – I would dare say, unwavering – supporter of Catholic youth ministry and vocation outreach," said Bro. Stephen Balletta, S.M., director of the Marianist community and vocations director at Chaminade. "Several young men are giving serious and prayerful consideration to a vocation in the Society of Mary and our Diocese, and each of these manifestations of God's grace stems from our faith community's untiring efforts to create an atmosphere that draws young people closer to the heart of Christ and His Blessed Mother."