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September 18, 1987     The Message
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September 18, 1987

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CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF EVANSVILLE VOLUME 18 NUMBER 3 SEPTEMBER 18, 1987 Superdome Youth Rally A crowd of 60,000 gathered at the Superdome in New Orleans last weekend to hear Pope Jo]mPaul H speak-ata youth rally. From left, Martha Verduzzco, Ashley Fondrevay, Gabdella Search, AkikoTamura, GloriaFeenando, . Lourdes Arvizu and Rhonda Fleming, all students from Marian Heights Academy, Ferdinand, get caught up in the flrenzy of the rally. Thirty.four_ teens from the prep board[u S Schoo!we,on,toe, ,.;9,qe:r;,,,.:,,, , .....  ,.,,, ,,,. .... ,: ,, young people. See pages 2'and 3 for related pliotod,' : -- Memge Photo IyMi'T.. Ellert' 'Just for us' Pope inspires Marian Heights students in New Orleans By MARY T. ELLERT Message Staff Writer A once in a lifetime opportunity. That's how teens from Marian Heights Academy described their visit to New Orleans last weekend to see Pope John Paul II. Thirty-four students from the prep boarding school in Ferdinand made the 13-hour trek for the papal visit. They were part of the crowd of 60,000 gathered at the Superdome for a two- hour youth rally. Even though they were in the upper tier of the Superdome -- the "nosebleed section," the Marian Heights students got caught up in the hysteria of the ral- ly. One girl compared the the event to a rock concert. When the pope entered the Superdome, the crowd broke into a frenzy of cheering and pennant waving. As the pontiff circled the Superdome in his popemobile, some cried, others screamed and most just couldn't believe they were actually there to see him in person. Rhonda Fleming, a Marian Heights sophomore from Ohio, said she had goosebumps and chills when she first got a glimpse of the Holy Father. She was impressed that the pope held a special audience specifically for teens. The youth rally was "just for us," she explained. "He told us we were special. I like that." Another classmate, Kristi Pnacek from Michigan, agreed the pope spoke on the teens' level. He didn't lecture them, but spoke directly to them about issues affecting youth today. "It shows how much he really does care about us," she said. In his opening remarks, the pope ex- plained the Catholic Church's teachings on premarital sex. "Jesus and his church hold to God's plan for human love, telling you that sex is a great gift of God that is reserved for marriage," he said. Other issues the pontiff address- ed include drug use and the need for "solidarity between all young people of the world." Gretchen Kessler, a senior from West Baden, Ind., said the pope's advice to young people was "don't let others run your life or intimidate you." His ad- dress was inspirational and reinforces teens' faith, she said. Pnacak remembered that at one point in his speech, the pope said that "Jesus is the truth, and the truth will set you free." This familiar bibilical passage "never had an impact until the pope said it," she said. BESIDES THE papal addresses, the rally also included a Mardi Gras-style parade, entertainment by contemporary Christian musicians and speeches by young people of New Orleans. Ashley Fondrevay, a junior from Chicago, said the pope "was all caught up" in the festivities, particularily when he donned a Mardi Gras mask presented to him. He paid rapt attention to the parade bands, Vietnamese dance group and Hispanic choir which per- formed. "Even though he had a full day, he didn't act aggravated," said Fondrevay. "He acted like he really cared." Lourdes Arvizu, a sophomore from Mexico, also realized the pope's con- cern for young people. He knows "we need a lot of support," she said. A few weeks ago, if someone would have asked her what God's greatest gift to her was, Arvizu would have said "Life." Now her answer is "Life and the pope." She explained, "To have him is a great gift. He can be a lot of help. He knows almost everything, I think." "I know I'll never forget it," said Kate Grote, a junior from Madison, Ind., when speaking of the youth rally. She also was wrapped up in the excitement of being there with so many other young people. "We wore all there for the same purpose," she said. "I got On the inside chills just being there in his presence." Even though their hotel rooms had free HBO, Grote and many of her schoolmates watched the pope's arrival at the New Orleans airport the night before the rally. She remembered when he kissed a baby, the TV commentators said the pope acted like he was running. for a political office. However, he's not running for anything, she said. "For him, it's all sincere." As the Holy Father left the stage at the end of the youth rally, a few of the Marian Heights students screamed, "We love you." At the same moment, he happened to look up in their direc- tion and wave. They're not sure whether the pontiff heard their cry - but they're hoping he did. 'God has a sense of humor' -- Mother Angelica's story is on page 9. St. Mary Church, Daviess County -- The little church with a big history is on pages I0 & 11. Sports recruitment -- On page 12, Dave Rutter probes into the controversy concerning Memorial High School, Modern day pilgrim -- The Mater Dei High School principal comments on his trip to see the pope. See page 14. i i i i i Hi i i I iml ii