Winter Worship sets hearts on fire in Holdingford
By Sue Schulzetenberg
Lively voices of children, the elderly and all ages in-between flowed from Holdingford High School’s gymnasium, where an altar and contemporary Christian band, Sonar, took center stage Jan. 15.
Attracting about 660 people, the event, Winter Worship, began with time for socializing followed by Mass, adoration, and a praise and worship session with Sonar. Fathers Gregory Mastey, Mark Stang and Mark Willenbring concelebrated the Mass. Sonar led the assembly in song.
“I felt it was a splash of cool water to revitalize my faith,” said Joshua Korver, an 18-year-old member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Little Falls. “I’ve been to Steubenville conferences a couple of times and this brings me back, the energy in it. There’s a lot of participation from people my age.”
Caught by God
“God is pursuing us, waiting for us to stand still so he can catch us. Let the Lord catch you so he can ‘set your hearts on fire,’” Father Gregory Mastey said during the homily, referring to the event’s theme.
The assembly participated in eucharistic adoration. At its conclusion, Father Stang lifted the monstrance that held the Eucharist and walked by each part of the gymnasium. When the monstrance faced them, the people in each section made the sign of the cross simultaneously.
Many of the Mass attendees stayed for the praise and worship session following a break after adoration. Sonar played a variety of Christian songs while the standing assembly sang along and performed actions to correspond to the lyrics.
“I’m super excited for everyone to be here because I love this: [the band] and the fact that God is here. You can feel him,” said April Gerads, a 16-year-old from St. Mary Parish in Holdingford.
Booths with youth opportunities and vocation information lined the back of the gym. Groups represented included a local five-parish youth group; Benedictine, Franciscan and Dominican sisters; Partnership for Youth; diocesan Vocations Office; diocesan Office of Marriage and Family; and Sonar.
Youth of the five-parish Catholic cluster in Holdingford, Opole, St. Anna and St. Wendel advertised, raised funds and hosted the event. They staffed a concessions booth and wore blue long-sleeve T-shirts with the theme, “Set your hearts on fire.” Many of the youth wore the T-shirts to school to raise awareness of the event.
To pay for Winter Worship, the youth assembled and sold 835 pizzas. Free-will offerings were accepted at the event to cover remaining costs. K-YES 1180-AM advertised Winter Worship on its radio station.
Bringing it home
Youth from the five-parish cluster became acquainted with Sonar by attending Steubenville North conferences. After they overheard Gloria Brinker, youth activities coordinator for the five-parish cluster, asking a Sonar representative about the possibility of bringing the band to Holdingford, the youth began asking Brinker if the band would really come.
Brinker told them that she would need all their help to make it happen. The youth agreed and the band was arranged and the date set. Holdingford High School, which rents out its gymnasium through Community Education, was chosen for the event due to the anticipated crowd.
Brinker sent letters to 57 area parishes to notify them of Winter Worship. She said she wanted it to be a family event for people of all ages. She also wanted the youth to see that they do not need to go far away for faith-filled experiences.
“For the local youth, it’s very awesome that praise and worship can happen here,” she said.