Youth rallies for high school, junior high set Nov. 3, 4

Photo Caption: Leah Darrow and Bob Rice will energetically share the Catholic faith at both the 2012 Youth Rally for high school students on Nov. 3 and the first-ever Junior High Youth Rally on Nov. 4.

By: By Tom Dermody

In planning a Catholic youth rally, what could be better than having a former professional model and a nationally known youth speaker and musician booked as speakers?

The Diocese of Peoria’s answer? Have Leah Darrow and Bob Rice stay on another day and reach an even wider audience by hosting a first-time Junior High Youth Rally.

“Both speakers were open to it because they are not merely speakers, but primarily evangelists,” said Craig Dyke, director of the diocesan Office of Evangelization, which sponsors the annual Youth Rally for high school students from throughout the diocese. This year’s high school event, on the theme “Rise Up,” will be from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Spalding Pastoral Center in Peoria.

Meanwhile, the diocese is also inviting junior high students (6th, 7th and 8th graders) to gather at the same location from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4, for their own youth rally on the theme “Sealed.”

“Some parishes are choosing to use this as a supplement to their confirmation program,” said Dyke of the new junior high rally. Young Catholics in that age group “don’t often get an opportunity to hear guest speakers like this,” he added.

Leah Darrow followed her appearance on the reality show “America’s Next Top Model” with a professional modeling career. Now working toward a master’s degree in theology, she uses her experiences in the fashion world to speak on issues including chastity, modesty, and God’s love. More information on her is available at

Bob Rice is a musician who teaches catechetics at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. Like Darrow, he also travels the country giving talks and concerts. His website is

The 2012 Youth Rally has been expanded to 12 hours and will include a Mass with Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC. Dyke said that, in addition to the presentations by Darrow and Rice, there will also be interactive skits performed by youth groups from throughout the diocese and teen witness talks. The event will end with a “joyful celebration of faith” including a 45-minute concert by the Paul Vogrinc Band from Rockford.

“It’s exciting to collaborate with the youth ministers of the diocese to proclaim the Gospel to the next generation,” said Dyke. The day will also feature games, both lunch and dinner, and opportunities for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the sacrament of reconciliation.

Cost is $40 per person, and registrations are being accepted through the Office of Evangelization, (309) 671-1550, or by email to The doors open at 9:30 a.m.

Meanwhile, the Junior High Youth Rally will feature a talk by Rice followed by separate breakout sessions for boys and girls on the topic of modesty/chastity led by Rice and Darrow. There will also be games and praise music.

Cost is $15 per person. Registration can be made through your parish youth minister or director of religious education. One chaperone per seven youth participants is required.

“In this Year of Faith, it is crucial now more than ever to give the youth an uplifting, authentic encounter with Jesus Christ that will inspire them to become the apostles of the next generation,” said Dyke. “The Youth Rallies plant the seeds for the youth to not only hear the Gospel message, but in hearing it, live it fully by partaking in the Church’s great mission to evangelize by word and action in their daily life.”

SPALDING PASTORAL CENTER | 419 NE MADISON AVENUE | PEORIA, IL 61603 | PHONE (309) 671-1550 | FAX (309) 671-1595
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