Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Fall ‘Revive’ Speaks To Young Adults’ Faith

Published November 22, 2007

An image of the risen Jesus Christ, spanning several feet, served as the backdrop for Fall Revive, an event Nov. 17 for young adults that celebrated the theme, “Be Transformed.”

Sponsored by YAM, the archdiocesan Young Adult Ministry, the conference encouraged hundreds in their faith through speakers, live music and eucharistic adoration.

The event began at 5:30 p.m. with food provided by On the Deck entertainment. People enjoyed hot dogs, chips and barbeque made on-the-spot, while sitting and visiting with each other at tables set up in the parking lot of St. Andrew Church, host of the conference.

As the young adults finished eating and walked inside, they were warmly greeted by YAM volunteers. They continued down the hall until they found themselves in a beautifully decorated room, with a tapestry of the risen Jesus as the centerpiece.

A lively band, led by Jon Ferguson, treated the rapidly growing audience to the sounds of praise and worship music, setting the mood for the evening’s events. They opened with “Sing to the King” and followed up with several songs known by the audience, including “This Is My Desire” and “Enough” and finishing with “O Praise Him.”

Revive’s speakers entered into a room full of young adults praising God. Father Ricardo Bailey, parochial vicar at Holy Spirit Church, Atlanta, served as the emcee and immediately raised the energy level with his powerful and entertaining words. The young priest, who grew up in Atlanta, has made reaching those in their 20s and 30s a major part of his ministry. Speaking to a radio audience every Monday on Q100-FM, he is known as Father Crunk, a play on the urban term for high energy hip-hop and high-energy people.

“Do you have any idea what ‘revive’ means?” he asked the audience. “Revive, my dear friends in Christ, … means get crunk with Jesus.”

The crowd responded with laughter and applause as Father Bailey continued his encouraging introduction to the evening.

“I want you to be open to God’s Holy Spirit,” he said. “I want you to sing. I want you to go ahead and lift your hands up and give God the praise. Because, believe it or not, this is very Catholic.”

Father Bailey also introduced a special, unexpected treat for the audience—a video message from Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory.

“Welcome all of the young adults who have come to St. Andrew’s Parish to celebrate this year’s Revive,” the archbishop said. “I remember with great joy being able to be with you personally myself last year, and I regret that I can’t be with you today. However, I am sure that when 600 young adults get together, there will be lots of laughter, joy and hope. God bless you, welcome, and every success to all those who participate in this year’s Revive.”

Father Leo Patalinghug, a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore who also serves at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., took the stage following the archbishop’s message and a brief introduction by Father Bailey.

Father Patalinghug, whose background includes martial arts, break-dancing and cooking, built on the message of the event and offered tools for young Catholics in their faith journey.

“Now, tonight’s theme is about transformation, and if there’s anything we have to remember, it’s that transformation means that our form will change,” he said. “What will it eventually change into? It will change into the cross.”

The animated priest kept the crowd entertained with his engaging stories and interaction. Father Patalinghug broached many topics, from the necessity of keeping one’s spiritual eyes fixed on Jesus to the importance of a regular family meal. He also informed the young adults of his new pilot cooking show, “Grace Before Meals,” which is scheduled to air next year on PBS.

Father Patalinghug explained three things the cross teaches that the devil hates—patience, balance and joy.

“We are becoming a very impatient society,” he said. “We have adopted and accepted, hook, line and sinker, the fast food mentality. But the problem is God uses a crock pot.”

The priest completed his talk with a physical demonstration of the spiritual tools Catholics need to be transformed. He brought his martial arts experience to life as he brought members from the audience on stage to hold three wooden boards.

“These boards can actually teach us something about our own spiritual lives because, in order to be transformed, we have to have the courage to break through our sinfulness,” he said.

Father Patalinghug asked the band to provide him with some “funky music” and proceeded to break two of the boards with his fists. Then, for a moment, he disappeared behind the speakers on the left side of the stage. Sprinting at full speed, he ran across the stage and leapt over two crowd members on their hands and knees to break the final board with a flying jump kick.

After roaring applause, Father Bailey took the stage to introduce Jesse Romero, the evening’s final speaker. Romero, formerly of the Los Angeles police department, continued to captivate the young adults with his energetic witness. Quoting Scripture often, he related many of his touching stories to both the Old and New Testaments.

His most powerful story came near the end of his talk, when he told of the conversion of a prostitute he met on a flight from Texas to California. Romero painted a vivid picture as he spoke about the encounter. What began as a woman trying to get money from Romero ended up being a powerful witness and was used as a tool for her conversion.

Romero shared Scripture with the woman and explained to her how important she was in the eyes of God.

“I told her, ‘You know Carol Ann, if God has a refrigerator in heaven, and I don’t know if he does, but if he has a refrigerator in heaven, your picture is on it, Carol Ann,’” he said. “If God has a wallet, and I don’t know if he does, but if he has a wallet, he has your photo in there! You’re special, you’re chosen. God has a plan and purpose for your life.”

After the flight landed in Los Angeles, Romero prayed over the woman in the terminal. He expressed how odd it must have looked to see a man praying over this woman in public, but he understood the importance of her conversion and continued with his witness.

Romero closed with a prayer, summing up the mission that evening.

“Heavenly Father, we thank you and we praise you that you’ve given us the greatest gift, the greatest gift, Lord, of your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” he began. “O Lord, give us the grace to cooperate, that we may be holy ambassadors of Christ, that we may be a strike force for Jesus Christ and bring about change in this culture of death, and build up a culture of life.”

While the speakers tapped into the spirit of Revive’s transformation message, perhaps the most powerful moment of the evening came with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

Hundreds of young adults fell to their knees as Father Patalinghug entered the room holding the monstrance that contained the Eucharist. After a brief time of silent prayer, he carried the monstrance through the aisles to offer the young adults a more personal connection with Jesus through the Blessed Sacrament.

Yvonne Noggle, program coordinator for the archdiocesan Office of Religious Education, saw the power in this moment.

“People were crying, people were touched by the presence of God, especially during adoration,” she said. “When he walked through the crowd, to see the love there, the true love between one heart and Jesus, it was just an incredible transformation of people’s minds.”

Following Benediction, the recitation of the Divine Praises and reposing of the Blessed Sacrament, the band played a final song, “Undignified,” to end the evening.

Desserts were offered to the attendees and, as they ate, a sense of community between strangers and friends alike was established. Many of the young adults recognized this.

“These sort of events are so important because they are what re-energize people and cause them to remember why it is that they are Catholic,” said Amelia Netto, a Revive volunteer. “They bring young adults from across the Atlanta area together—which is awesome because Atlanta is so spread out—to pray and be united in Christ. What could be more powerful than that?”

The theme of the Fall Revive was based on Romans 12:2, which states, “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” Through the lively music, the powerful speakers and most Blessed Sacrament, Atlanta-area young adults were truly transformed.


For more information about current YAM events in the area, visit or contact Dorothy Polchinski, director, at or (404) 885-7248.