Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Catholic Church Gets Hip

~says the headline from Christian Post
Youths attending the event at St. Joseph's Seminary Chapel in Yonkers on April 19 can forget the robe-clad choir, leave their rosaries at home and get ready to get their rock on! [pssst....don't leave home without your rosary!]

Kelly Clarkson, the former "American Idol" winner, is one of several contemporary singers slated to perform before a crowd of 25,000 Catholics at the Papal Youth Rally, CBS Channel 2 reported.

The pop star will perform a few of her songs before the Pope's arrival and “Ave Maria” after his arrival, the Star-Telegram reported.

Clarkson, who said she grew up singing church music, told the paper that she was excited to sing the song before the Catholic Church head.

Most recently, Christian rock artist TobyMac was added to the musical line-up which includes Christian rock band Third Day and New York pop/classical trio "Three Graces."

It will be TobyMac's third papal performance. While he was a member of the CCM rap group DC Talk, TobyMac had performed at youth events in Denver (1993) and St. Louis (1999), both of which were presided over by the late Pope John Paul II.

“It's an honor to participate in this Papal visit. Not too many artists are given this opportunity. We have great respect for the work he does," the Dove Award-winning artist commented.

Tai Anderson of Third Day said he expects the papal performance to be one of the "cornerstone moments" of the band's career, according to The Associated Press.

Chris Wangro, the rally's producer, said the Christian rock band was selected to perform not only because they're recognized as a leader in Christian music but also "an important influence for today’s youth."

"We wanted to bring the most current sound to the rally and Third Day definitely fits this bill," he said in a news release.

In the spirit of celebrating the hip side of faith, the Archdiocese of New York sponsored a skateboard design contest that was open to 11- to 18-year-olds in the region.

"This is part of the culture of the city," the Rev. Peter Pomposello of St. Elizabeth's Church told the New York Post. "The Holy Father encourages us to realize that we have to take the good in our culture and capitalize on that to get the word out about Jesus Christ."

The winner's design will be made into a skateboard that will be given as a gift to the Pope, according to Catholic News Service, although a public demonstration of the gift is not yet in the plans. Father Pomposello, who organized the contest, told CNS that replicas of the winning papal skateboard would be available for sale, with the proceeds donated to Catholic Charities.

The 2008 youth rally’s purpose is to encourage youth to seek vocations within the Catholic Church, a news release stated.

The Church's younger generation considers religion important but doesn't necessarily attend church. A Barna Group survey last July reported 68 percent of Catholics said religious faith is important in their life.

Recent surveys, however, confirm that only 15 percent of college-aged Catholics said they attended mass, according to University of Connecticut Professor and Emeritus of Sociology William d’Antonio, author of American Catholics Today: New Realities of Their Faith and Church. Younger Catholics also hold more liberal views than their parents and grandparents regarding abortion, homosexuality, and divorce, studies have shown.

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