Fiat Festival in the Diocese of St. Augstine, Florida on November 21st, 2015.
All of heaven and earth seemed to stand still, waiting for the response of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the visit of the Angel Gabriel. “Fiat,” she responded. “Let it be done unto me according to they will.” This was the simple and faithful response of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Inspired by Mary’s Fiat and in response to the summoning of this year as the Year of Consecrated Life by Pope Francis, the parish communities of the diocese of St. Augustine celebrated this one-time event called the Fiat Fest.
More than 500 youth from all over the diocese came streaming to this event, which took place at Bishop Kenny High School on November 21st, the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lady. Various religious communities from our very own diocese and from all over the country were invited to give witness to their own Fiat. The joy and fidelity of the religious communities present was an impacting testimony of the Fiat that should be pronounced in the life of each Christian, whatever their vocation may be. Many of the youth expressed that the highlight of the event was getting to know the religious brothers and sisters and hear their experiences of a total surrender to Christ.
The day began with the Holy Mass, hitting it home for the youth that the Eucharist is the source and strength of every “Fiat.” Afterwards, Brian Shields, Lay Member of the Home of the Mother, hosted the Youth Rally, which kicked-off the various events of the day. An immense desire for holiness was enkindled in the hearts of the youth as they attentively listened to the Breakout sessions given by religious brothers and sisters from different orders. There was Eucharistic adoration with points of mediation given by Father Henry, Servant Priest of the Home of the Mother, and an ongoing line to receive the Sacrament of Confession throughout the entire event.
During the day, the youth visited the relics of the saints that were on display and pleaded for the intercession from those who have said their “yes” to God throughout their lives. From Saint Therese to Saint Padre Pio, it’s as if the saints were encouraging the youth that “anything less than everything is not enough for the Crucified Christ.” Next up, the Religious Brothers challenged the college and high school boys to an intense basketball game. Many from the crowd were left with the conviction that basketball skills only increase as one’s union with God becomes stronger, that is…the religious beat the boys.
As the sun began to set, the Franciscan Friars began the sound check for their guitars and the smell from the food trucks filled the air, as families from all over the diocese gathered in the Bishop Kenny parking lot for the Ignite the Fire Festival. The night consisted of live music by Rich Dittus and the Franciscan Friars, drama, inspirational videos, impacting testimonies, and amazing talents shared by the religious. A lifting up of the heart in prayer of thanksgiving in Night Prayer concluded the event along with closing words by our very own Bishop Felipe Estévez.
May the firm and faithful response of Our Blessed Mother, “Let it be done unto me,” be ever pronounced in the depths of our hearts and carried out in every moment of our lives.