Inspire[d]/Life Teen Community Music is a Lifesaver. by Jimmy Rosa Music is a lifesaver. Really, it is. Music is one of the best things God gave to us humans. Think about it; you probably know of about 2 or 3 or 10 songs right now that resonate with you, just based off how they sound or what the lyrics mean. Having previously been a percussionist for 5 years, I can keep a steady beat. I can perform a flam tap or paradiddle in a quick second (percussionist jargon, sorry). Music to me has always been a central part of my life. Is it any wonder that music influenced my faith? No, of course not! Right before I entered into high school, I was at a different parish then where I am now. I had been going there since I was born, and it was also within convenient walking distance of my home. The church was great for me as a child, but once I got to be a teen, it became apparent something was missing – youth. The median age at the church is probably about 60. It is right next to a retirement center and it seemed like I was the only person who was younger than 45 or older than 2. There was no one my age there that I could talk to about my faith. Then, one Sunday in June, I had twisted my ankle pretty badly and, being in pain, wasn’t able to make it to morning Mass to altar serve. My mom found out another church nearby had a 6pm Mass, and we decided to go to that and see what was going on. As soon as I walked in the church, I was shocked at what I saw – TEENS!! I had thought they’d gone extinct in the Church! Looking around, I started seeing some familiar faces from school. I was incredibly happy. Then Mass started. I was expecting to hear the usual adult cantor and some sound resembling “song” emanating from the congregation. To my surprise, Mass started with an upbeat, piano driven version of “Your Grace Is Enough” by Matt Maher. Piano, drums, three guitars, a saxophone, even a violin. These guys had it all. And then, I realized the choir itself was made up entirely of teens too. And the lectors and ushers and Eucharistic Ministers were all teens. The priest celebrating was a youthful, energetic Filipino who sang during his homily (He was awesome and could make you laugh real quick, but turn serious in a blink of an eye.) It was then that I realized what could truly be in store for me if I lived out my faith the best that I could. For the first time in a long time, I heard myself singing my heart out to God. I was “as happy as a clam,” as my mom put it later on. I was changed because for once I had hope in what could happen with my peers in my faith journey, and I loved it. To me music was the key to this change. It’s kinda funny actually how that worked, because God used something so common to me to speak to me. God gave me the opportunity to dive deeper into my faith with not just myself but my peers. Seeing a youth-led mass gave me hope, hope that people hadn’t abandoned the faith. It gave me a glimpse of God’s glory, and I relished in that moment and seized his greatness with everything I had. Now, some 3 years later, I’m at that parish I visited. I’m no longer an altar server, but I’m a lector, usher, sacristan, and Eucharistic minister. I spend almost all of my spare time in church because God inspired me, and I want to give everything that I am to him. I need to be an ambassador for Christ, but the only way people will know I am being truthful is if I’m active in my faith. My nickname in school and in life now is Father Rosa. Naturally, I’m not afraid to speak about the priesthood or any other thing in life that means something to me. All this started back on a warm, sunny Sunday evening by a complete mistake. And I have music to thank for changing me. Praying for everyone out there! God bless! Editor’s Note: This blog is part of a series of blogs that relate to our 2014 theme Inspire[d]. If you would like to submit about a blog about an Inspire[d] story that you have, please see these guidelines.