Deep in the orange groves of central Florida, 300 youth gathered at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Wachula, Florida (Diocese of Venice) for the first IVE Florida Youth Rally on January 25th.

The Youth Rally centered on the theme “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new spirit within me (Ps. 51:12).”


Pam Stenzel gave the plenary talk entitled “Sex has a Price Tag” on the realities of human sexuality and discovering its true value.  Many young men and women were very impressed by her talk and sought out her autograph on their t-shirts!

The participants could choose talks for the break-out sessions: “What is the Bible?”, “The True Church”, “Learning about the Virgin Mary”, “Media and Communications: its impact on my life”, “Missions and the Missionary Life” and “Vocations: How do I know what I am called to be?”

Many volunteers supported this event especially as chaperones, sports leaders and cooks.  Throughout the day priests heard confessions and were available for consultations.

During breaks in the day, songs and classic youth group competitions were held.

The visit of Bishop Frank Dewane was a special blessing on the day.  Coming from the coast, Bishop Dewane presided over the Holy Mass and spent time greeting the youth following the liturgy.

After sports and games, the youth gathered for a candle-lit Marian Procession with a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The event ended with dinner and a closing show.  May Our Lady bless all the youth who participated in this event that the Lord bless and protect them.