The youth of the Diocese of Buffalo have been tasked with evangelization. While attending a faith rally known as Da Bounce, held March 21, they gained the tools to bring the Gospel to others. Father David Muñoz, OMI, told the 55 teens gathered to use their gifts and talents to spread the word of Jesus Christ.
Father Muñoz, Hispanic outreach coordinator for Holy Angels Parish in Buffalo, explained the word evangelization means to tell of something new.
"Think about having this great news and you want to tell everybody about it. That's exactly what evangelization is," he said. "It's when you have this great news and you just want to tell everybody. But, the only way you can tell people about something great is when you experience it or are passionate about it."
Father Muñoz used his passions, cooking and music, to share Jesus' message. He cooked up a dish of beans while telling the story of "Stone Soup." The tale tells of strangers coming to a village carrying a pot and a rock. The locals watch them try to make soup with only a stone, then help by adding carrots, onions and a chicken.
"Little by little everyone in the town cooperates and they make this big bowl of soup that everybody eats from," Father Muñoz explained. "The rock had nothing to do with it. There was no reason to have a rock, but it brought people's curiosity, and that is what made the difference. Jesus is like a rock for us. He piques our curiosity to see what we can bring into the spice of our life."
In a breakout session, Father Muñoz showed a video clip of Sister Cristina Scuccia, who wowed the judges on the musical competition show, "The Voice of Italy." She told the judges she was using her talents to evangelize as Pope Francis implores everyone.
Justin Becton, 17, from St. Martin de Porres Parish in Buffalo, is a veteran of Da Bounce. This year he served as one of three MCs. He suggests people use social networks as a tool to spread the faith message.
"Tell a friend about it. Bring him to church," he said. "There are a lot of things that you can do. Like Da Bounce, you bring a friend. They'll see how it goes. They may like it, then they'll keep going. That's evangelizing one person. Then, they can evangelize other people."
He followed his own advice and brought his sister to Da Bounce for her first time.
This was Salvador Saez' first time at the event as well. He heard good things about it, and figured since it was taking place at Holy Angels in Buffalo - his parish - he should attend.
"I believe Jesus is always there for me," the 17-year-old said. "He always answers my prayers. I can come to Him like He was my best friend and I can tell Him anything."
Da Bounce began in 2003 as an urban youth rally designed to bounce out the idea that the Church was not open to all people. Pizza and a dance led by DJ Lito have become staples of the event. Holy Cross, Holy Angels, St. Martin de Porres, St. Anthony of Padua, Our Lady of Hope and St. Lawrence parishes sponsored this year's event.