City's teen Mass marks anniversary - Catholic Courier

City’s teen Mass marks anniversary

ROCHESTER — Javonne Brown used her own life for inspiration when drawing a religious picture for Bishop Matthew H. Clark.

Brown drew a sick person in a hospital bed. Unbeknownst to the person, two angels are praying behind the bed.

“I have a chronic disease, and I feel as if God is always with me through it,” Brown said.

Brown, who was initiated into the Catholic Church in January, is one of the success stories of the contemporary, youth-oriented LIFE TEEN Masses at 6 p.m. Sundays at Church of the Annunciation, 1754 Norton St.

After a friend invited her to the Mass, she said she quickly was drawn in by the energetic liturgy and the friendly faces, she said.

“It was wonderful to see other teens who loved God as much as I did,” Brown said.

LIFE TEEN recently celebrated its second anniversary at Annunciation with a special Mass featuring Bishop Clark. During his homily, the bishop encouraged young people to consider how they express their faith in their daily lives.

“We have to recognize that we sometimes fail, but that should never discourage us from wanting to speak the truth and act the truth in our lives,” Bishop Clark said.

The Mass’s teen-friendly features include upbeat music by the band The Book of Life and an evening time slot, said Amy Dorscheid, youth minister and faith-formation director for the sister parishes Annunciation and St. Andrew.

“This music helps teens to pray and to enter into the liturgy,” she explained.

Following the Mass, teens attend youth groups to talk about issues, have monthly parties and learn about the Catholic faith.

“That’s a real focus: helping teens come closer to their faith and God,” said Father Mike Mayer, pastor of Annunciation and St. Andrew.

LIFE TEEN got its start in Arizona in 1985 and is now worldwide. Fairport’s Church of the Assumption has had a LIFE TEEN Mass for several years, Dorscheid said.

Before LIFE TEEN, Annunciation had a 15-member youth group, which now has 50 or 60 members, Dorscheid said. More importantly, the Mass helps reach out to non-Catholics in the parishes’ urban neighborhood, she said.

Teens so far have given LIFE TEEN good reviews.

“It’s energetic and lively,” said 16-year-old Steven Crespo.

The Mass also draws adults.

“I get into it,” Pat Dondorfer said. “I enjoy the hand gestures.”

“The music is a draw for the kids,” Ann Marie Knauf added. “It’s lively, and it gives you life.”

Father Mayer said many adults go to multiple Masses on Sundays, including LIFE TEEN. He said that one senior explained to him why.

“She calls this her happy Mass,” he said.

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