DALLAS — Chris Padgett asked a group of over 400 people one question — Why can’t Jesus be incorporated into daily life?
“We are in survivor mode,” Padgett answered. “We want people to see us in our best moment. Jesus sees you how you are. The reality is we are all a little bit of a mess.”
A Christian speaker, musician and writer, Padgett was one of many featured at the 10th annual Light the Fire rally held at Misericordia University Wednesday.
The event attracted Christian youth from eighth to 12th grade and youth ministers from 11 counties covered by the Diocese of Scranton.
Pam Urbanski, of St. Jude Parish in Mountain Top, and Steve Wallo, of Our Lady of the Snows/St. Benedict Parish Community Church in Clark Summit, organized the event to energize and excite young adults about their faith.
“We were inspired after attending a national conference and wanted to do something on a smaller level,” Urbanski said. “We wanted to give young people the chance to get outside their parish walls to see other young people who feel the same way.”
The one-day event funded by local parishes and the Diocese of Scranton provided opportunities for guests to attend various faith-based workshops, Urbanski said.
Four young girls who wrapped up a workshop called “Are You N.U.T.S.” by Catholic motivational speaker, musician and songwriter Carrie Ann Ford decidedly vowed to be more outspoken about their faith.
“It is O.K. to be nuts,” said 15-year-old Sara Gherardi from Milford. “I want to be more open about my faith.”
Olivia Larry, 14, of Milford, learned not to be afraid to talk about her faith.
The Light the Fire rally also provided attendees an opportunity to participate in Corporal Works of Mercy, which are acts of kindness to spread compassion to others. Mercy Stations were set up outside of Insalaco Hall.
The stations included:
• Visit the Imprisoned - guests were encouraged to write a prayer or words of encouragement on a paper chain that will be given inmates at the Monroe County Prison.
• Bury the Dead - pray for someone who has died and light a candle in their memory.
• Feed the Hungry - attendees made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen.
• Clothe the Naked or Shelter the Homeless - guests could use an app called Charity Miles that connects the user with a corporate sponsor that pays 25 cents for every mile walked. Funds raised are donated to Soles 4 Souls or Habitat for Humanity.
• Visit the Sick - participants made tissue boxes for pediatric patients at Janet Weis Children’s Hospital.
• Give Drink to the Thirsty - attendees could participate in the water project that requires people to give up drinking everything but tap water for two weeks and log the money saved. Funds collected are then mailed into the project and sent to Africa to provide clean drinking water.
“Twenty dollars raised could help one person have clean drinking water,” said Gabby Termini, from St. Judes Parish.
The event ended at 7 p.m. Wednesday with a Mass conducted by Bishop James Timlin.