I am a firm believer that Life Teen is NOT just for teenagers. I also believe that Life Teen is a big part of the reason my faith is what it is today. My first experience with Life Teen was when my son was in Junior High and our very smart Associate Pastor realized that he had to empower the young kids and get them on board with Life Teen before they ever even got to high school. My only role was to support my son and bring meals every once in a while to events and Life Nights. Being present at some of the Life Nights peaked my interest in what they were doing and to what they were teaching our kids. I began to think, “I want to be part of this… I want to learn about God and my faith like they are.” I remember taking my kids to a concert put on by Life Teen at our own parish…. but this concert was different…. it wasn’t just a performance, it was worship in a way I had never seen before. Each song had a purpose, told a story and drew you in. I will never forget the performer/worship leader, Matt Maher, joking about how we come to mass every week and we say all the words and responses over and over, “Peace be with you….and with your spirit. Lift up your hearts…. we lift them up to the Lord.” And then he asked “when you say ‘I lift my heart up to the Lord’ do you really think about what you are saying? Do you REALLY lift your heart up to the Lord?” and that sentence changed me forever… for in 37 years I had never even really paid attention to what I was saying…. and from that day forward each time we get to that part in the mass I literally put my hand over my heart when I say those words, and I truly feel myself giving my heart to Jesus. I really mean the words that I say! Months later at another Life Teen/Matt Maher concert at another parish, I heard Jesus speak to me for the first time in my life. They had incorporated Eucharistic Adoration into the concert and Matt Maher said he would like to ask one thing of us…. he asked that we really LOOK at Jesus. It wasn’t easy, the church was jammed full of teenagers, most with their hands in the air, singing, so I was swaying back and forth trying to catch a glimpse through their arms. Honestly, I also found it hard because part of me did not feel worthy to look right at Him…. and as I stood staring at Him in an attempt to keep my promise to the worship leader, all I could think about was my mother (I couldn’t get her out of my mind)…. and that’s when I heard Him say,”You are right to be thinking of a mother, but it is MY mother, not your mother that is calling you.” That began a journey with Our Blessed Mother, a journey with her to bring me closer to her Son, and I will be forever grateful to Life Teen and Matt Maher (a product of Life Teen himself, and today a successful artist/musician). Life Teen is truly a gift to the faithful and the faithless… it is a gift to teens, to young adults and to not-so-young-adults. If you are a parent of a teen, please look into Life Teen for your child…. but don’t lead them there and walk away. It is a journey in faith together. Your teenagers need you to push them a bit and challenge them to find their faith, but if they are going to keep the faith, you need to accept that same challenge and join them on the journey.
– Christine Rich
My Saint My Hero Co-Founder