Lift Jesus Higher Rally Helps Many ‘Take Heart’

by | May 3, 2024

We recently gathered in Toronto with a nearly sold-out crowd of over 2600 adults and nine-hundred youth for the Lift Jesus Higher Rally in Toronto. The theme was Take Heart! from the story of the blind man Bartimaeus in Mark 10.

The attendees were grateful for the opportunity to gather with fellow people of faith. One person said, “It’s heartwarming and hopeful to see that faith is still around.” Another commented, “It’s very encouraging to see all the people here and reaching out to the Lord.”

A woman from Stratford, Ontario, who organized a bus with twenty-nine people, added, “It’s so powerful. You go home feeling like, ‘We have work to do,’ but it gives you things to work with. I find it very important to come.” Another woman appreciated the message of being open to God’s grace and of being strong, joyful Catholics as best we can.

Adult rally attendees experienced profound moments of Jesus’ intimate, powerful, and healing presence. Throughout the day, the participants were challenged to stand on the truth, encounter the Lord anew, believe in his awesome power, and respond in faith.

I was struck by how sincerely people believed the Gospel, the teachings of the Church, and the promises of God. Prayers were said with conviction, responses of “Amen!” echoed through the room during talks, and people responded as Fr. Mathias Thelen invited them to ask for healing, signs, and wonders. During the afternoon prayer time, people eagerly testified to God’s work in their bodies and hearts. The worship was energetic and loud as people sang, clapped, and even danced their praise to the Lord.

I’m always struck by the wonderful ethnic diversity in the rally’s gathering hall. Dozens of countries are represented yet we’re all focused on the King of every tribe, nation, and tongue. As a Renewal Ministries team, we enjoy the trust and friendship of our long-serving and sacrificial Steering Committee and Suresh Dominic and his faithful and generous team from Gethsemane Ministries. Over the years, we’ve also been deeply blessed by the support and companionship of Thomas Cardinal Collins, and so meeting and welcoming new Archbishop Francis Leo for the closing Mass was exciting and encouraging! Let’s all pray for him while he shepherds the Archdiocese of Toronto!

As I moved through the convention hall, many people stopped to thank me for the work of Ralph Martin, Peter Herbeck, Sister Ann Shields, Renewal Ministries’ YouTube channel, various inspirational emails, and all other manner of ministry work. Our team is extremely grateful for these interactions because they help us know the impact of the work the Lord has asked us to do. Putting faces with names is also a wonderful experience! In a world so divided and contentious, it’s a remarkable reminder of the power of the Gospel to see that many people “Take Heart!” and worship, grow, and receive as one!

This article originally appeared in Renewal Ministries’ May 2024 newsletter.

About the Author

<a href="" target="_self">Pete Burak</a>

Pete Burak

Pete Burak is vice president of Renewal Ministries. He is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, and has a Master’s Degree in Theology from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan. Pete is a frequent speaker on discipleship, evangelization, and young adult topics, and he is the co-director of Pine Hills Boys Camp. Pete and his wife, Cait, have five children.


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