Dave Schreiber has been a busy guy these past few weeks — not only with exams and his upcoming high-school graduation, but also with a string of major diocesan youth events.
As a member of the Diocesan Youth Committee, Dave assisted at the Junior High Youth Rally on April 29, then at the Run for the Young on May 13. To top it all off, he attended the Senior Scene on May 19.
“It’s been hectic,” the 18-year-old admitted, quickly adding that he’s had a great time nonetheless.
The Junior High Rally drew 316 people to New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls for an all-day slate of fun activities and spiritual events. The Run for the Young, featuring a 5-kilometer competition and a 1-mile “fun run,” attracted 398 competitors to St. Lawrence Church in Greece, where the races began and ended.
Both events have a solid foundation in the diocese. The Junior High Rally for grades 6-8 was begun in 1993. Meanwhile, the Run for the Young just celebrated its 10th-annual outing. The run serves as an important fundraiser for diocesan youth programs: According to the diocesan Office of Youth Ministry, this year’s event raised a healthy $9,200.
The Senior Scene, by contrast, is a relatively new venture. Begun last year, it has taken place twice at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
“It’s an opportunity for Bishop (Matthew H.) Clark to touch base with (teens) one more time,” explained Carol Dady, diocesan coordinator of vocations awareness.
Dady said the bishop attempts to greet each Senior Scene participant individually. The day is also designed toward having seniors reflect on their individual gifts and how they can use those in the future to serve God. Dady added that she was happy with this year’s attendance of 225 seniors and 75 adults.
“In spite of it being an extremely busy time of year, with proms, exams and award ceremonies, we’re pleased that they were able to clear their schedules,” she said.
Two Senior Scene participants, Katie DeRigge and Meghan Mathers, both 18, came all the way from Elmira Notre Dame High School for their first-ever visit to the diocesan cathedral. As fellow youths around them clapped and sang to the music provided by keynoter Tony Melendez, Katie said she liked the idea of a diocesan youth event taking place just before graduation.
“We can all get together before going our different ways,” she said.
Dave said he was in the middle of Advanced Placement exams around the time of the Junior High Rally and Run for the Young, but by the time he got to the Senior Scene, his tests were behind him. “Now I can just kind of relax and meet old friends I haven’t seen in awhile, meet the bishop, and have fun,” he remarked.
Bishop Clark is well known for his participation in all of these events. He served as a speaker at both the Junior High Rally and Senior Scene this year, and has participated in previous Runs for the Young. Such gatherings, he said, put an important spotlight on Catholic youths.
“We place a high priority on the participation of young people in our community,” the bishop told the Courier. “Any event which involves our youth and young people is a blessing for them and the whole community.”
Dave, a parishioner of St. Salome in Irondequoit and senior at Eastridge High School, has had many such blessings during his high-school years, beginning with his trip to the 2003 National Catholic Youth Conference in Houston. Since then, he has piled up many happy memories from diocesan events that he will take to SUNY College at Geneseo in the fall.
“It’s kind of one of those experiences that’s never going to happen again in my life. I’ve made friends that I’ll have for the rest of my life; and I’m closer to God and more spiritual in everything I do,” Dave said, adding that his involvement has also “kind of brought me out of my shell.”