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More than 1,000 attend San Diego Youth Day

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CHULA VISTA — More than 1,000 youth from more than 35 parishes attended San Diego Youth Day, a youth rally sponsored by the diocesan Office for Youth Ministry.

The annual event, which was previously known as Synergy, was held April 27 at Mater Dei Catholic High School. Participating teens had the opportunity to hear talks on topics that are relevant to their everyday lives, participate in praise-and-worship, and enjoy fellowship with their peers from parishes throughout the diocese.

This year’s theme was “Peace, Be Still, Just Chill,” inspired by John 20:19-31. The keynote speaker, Catholic musician and presenter Noelle Garcia, reflected on her struggles with self-image and depression as a teenager and shared how she had found healing through God’s love and the knowledge that we are made in His image.

Worship for the event was led by Emmaus Blvd., a San Diego-based praise-and-worship band. During their workshop, the band members shared how they use music to create moments of peace in which Christ’s voice can be heard. Lailani Gachalian, a member of the band who also serves as youth minister at San Rafael Parish in Rancho Bernardo, shared tools on how to overcome everyday stress, fear and chaos.

Workshop speaker Rafael Quevedo, the youth minister at Good Shepherd Parish in Mira Mesa, gave a talk based on the words of Matthew 22:37-40 and challenged the youth to learn how to love themselves and look at who their neighbor is.

Franciscan Brother Bradley Tuel gave a workshop on centering prayer and taught teens how to take moments of silence throughout their day.

The event concluded with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Robert W. McElroy.

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