Abbey Youth Fest Returns for 2017
Following last year’s severe weather-related cancellation, Abbey Youth Fest, the largest youth event within the Archdiocese of New Orleans, returns to the beautiful grounds of Saint Joseph Abbey next month. Abbey Youth Fest (AYF) takes place Saturday, March 25th with the theme “Be It Done Unto Me” in honor of that day’s feast, the Feast of the Annunciation. AYF is open to teens and young adults ages 13 or older. Saint Joseph Abbey is located at 75376 River Road in Covington, LA 70457. Visit www.abbeyyouthfest.com for more information, including registration.
AYF provides young people with an opportunity to experience a day of prayer and faith formation with an exposure to the Benedictine tradition. Its focus is evangelization and vocational discernment by means of liturgy, prayer, worship, music and education.
For the first time in its 16-year history, last spring’s AYF, scheduled a day after the March 11th flood, was cancelled. Even as crews were still assessing the damage, many of the 5,000-plus registered attendees asked how they could lend a hand.
“Amidst the flood that wreaked so much havoc across the state, I can’t help but smile when I think about how everyone stepped up and made a commitment to ensuring AYF returned this year. It’s a testament to how important it is for Catholic youths to have the opportunity to strengthen their faith and be surrounded by others who share their passion for the Gospel,” said Fr. Gregory Boquet, O.S.B., President-Rector of Saint Joseph Seminary College.
Thankfully, nobody was hurt during the flood, but Saint Joseph Abbey and Seminary College was inundated with floodwaters on March 11th, the day before AYF was scheduled to have taken place. Thirty-one buildings were damaged, including the Abbey Church and the monastery. Total losses will exceed $35 million.
New this year at the 2017 festival will be a special pro-life component, as AYF welcomes Catholic, pro-life advocate and speaker, Stephanie Grey, who will address issues concerned with the sanctity of life. Louisiana Right to Life’s PULSE youth leaders will play a special part in the day alongside Teen C.R.O.S.S. leaders from across the Archdiocese of New Orleans.
Additional 2017 presenters and musicians include: national Life Teen speaker David Calavitta; award-winning Christian rock group the Josh Blakesley Band; Louisiana Catholic speaker Katie Prejean McGrady; Christian singer-songwriter Dave Moore; homilist and pastor from Baton Rouge, Fr. Joshua Johnson; and emcee and “media nun” Sr. Tracey Matthia Dugas of the Daughters of St. Paul who preach the Gospel through all forms of media, especially social media.
Saint Joseph Abbey and Seminary College has been hosting AYF each spring since 2001. Nearly 5,000 young men and women from seven states and at least sixteen dioceses have come to the beautiful grounds of the Abbey year after year for a day of prayer, talks, music, fellowship, and exposure to vocational discernment.
In addition to teens and young adults, priests, deacons and seminarians are invited to AYF free of charge. Registration for youth and adult laity is $40 per person. Online, pre-event registration is open now through March 10th. On-site check-in and registration begins at 8 a.m. on March 25th. The AYF field will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Information and online registration can be found at www.abbeyyouthfest.com.