A ray of hope for the future of the Catholic Church was shining bright at St. Michael School in Brattleboro March 3 as about 150 people — including many families — gathered for the Array of Hope concert, which featured multiple musical acts, motivational speakers and thought-provoking films.

 

Born out of a recognition that youth ministers, directors of religious education and religion teachers need dynamic presentations to supplement their evangelization efforts, Array of Hope — based in New Jersey — provides a group of young adults boldly proclaiming that Jesus Christ is truly the way, the truth and the life.

 

The afternoon concert in Brattleboro also included prayer, games, dance and humor that emphasized lessons of faith, God’s love for all, the dignity of all people, the catholicity of the Church, the importance of sharing the faith and the importance of family.

 

Attendees heard how the Catholic Church is the only Church founded by Jesus Christ and is forming and influencing society by helping the poor and needy, caring for the sick and dying and educating people from elementary school through university.

 

Jamie and Tina Crocker of Bernardston, Massachusetts, parishioners of St. Michael Church in Brattleboro, send their children, Nicholas, 15, and Caroline, 12, to St. Michael School. They all attended the Array of Hope event.

 

“It’s important to have family events with all ages,” Mrs. Crocker said, noting that the witness of faith at such events sets a good example for young people.

 

“We came for the experience,” her husband said.

 

Both Crocker children used the word “cool” to describe the event: Nicholas liked the rap music, and his sister liked “all of it.”

 

According to Bill Gavin, director of youth and young adult ministry for the Diocese of Burlington, he is including parents in more of the activities his office presents “to create a multi-faceted experience that appeals to all people.”

 

The purpose of the Array of Hope event was to bring a message of hope “to a world that is often in darkness,” he said.

 

Following the concert was Mass at St. Michael Church then a vocation program focused on students in seventh through 12th grade. It was the last vocation night of its kind for the academic year and included dinner and a visit with Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne and Father Jon Schnobrich, vocation director. A seminarian and Sisters of Life spoke about their vocations.

 

The vocation nights help young people experience “joyful witnesses of life given over to Christ,” Father Schnobrich said.

 

The Array of Hope event, he said, was a good way to lead into the vocation program because the event was one way to “plant and water seeds and continue to encourage our young people” to pursue vocations to the priesthood, religious life and consecrated life.

 

He also liked the family nature of the event. “More of what we do has to involve the whole family,” he said.

 

According to Mario Costabile, Array of Hope producer, Array of Hope was created to address the degradation of values and the lack of spirituality that exists in today’s culture by bringing Christ’s message of faith, hope and love to as many people as possible.

 

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