Catholic presence grows at Lifest

By | July 13, 2011

View photos from Lifest

To view a slide show of photos from the Mass and other diocesan activities at Lifest, go to this link.

To view a slide show of photos from Toby Mac and Skillet, two Christian bands featured at Lifest, go to this link.

“I thought it was a beautiful celebration, a beautiful witness of all these young people,” Bishop Ricken told The Compass following Mass. “It’s incredible. I was really glad I could be here this year to participate in it and to catch part of the spirit.”

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Bishop David Ricken poses for a photo with children following Mass July 10 at Lifest, a Christian music festival held at the Sunnyview Exposition Center in Oshkosh. The Diocese of Green Bay is a sponsor of the five-day event, which attracts thousands of families from around the Midwest. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)

The Lifest spirit was evident throughout the festival grounds, including the Diocese of Green Bay’s camp headquarters, dubbed Q-Ville Cathedral. With Fr. Daniel Schuster, vocation director for the Green Bay Diocese, and volunteers from the diocesan offices, Camp Tekawitha and Catholic Youth Expedition staffing the campsite, visitors were welcomed each day for free lunches that featured “holy hot dogs” and “blessed brats.” At night, around the campfire, guests enjoyed “sacred s’mores.”

In addition to food and fellowship, there were opportunities for spiritual fitness. Daily rosary recitation and Mass were held at the campsite, as well as opportunities for the sacrament of reconciliation.

Fr. Schuster also served as one of the Lifest speakers. On July 8 he presented a talk titled, “COD v. God: Do video games rot the brain? Healing brains that put COD (Call of Duty video game) before God.”

The Diocese of Green Bay has been an official sponsor of Lifest for the past five years, according to Deacon Ray DuBois, diocesan director of communications and Lifest volunteer. The diocese operated an exhibit table in the expo center’s main exhibit hall, where a variety of informational pamphlets about the Catholic faith were available. Volunteers from the diocese and the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross sat at the table to greet visitors. They handed out “United in the Eucharist” T-shirts, applied removable tatooes on children’s hands and arms and made free necklaces and bracelets for young guests.

Visitors to the diocesan exhibit table frequently noted how pleased they were that the Catholic Church had a visible presence at Lifest, which attracts thousands of young families and children each year to Oshkosh.

According to Tammy Borden, Lifest marketing director, attendance at this year’s event was around 85,000 people over the five-day festival, an increase of more than 15 percent over last year.

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