Teens attend annual Frassati Fest held in Wisconsin Dells Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018 -- 12:00 AM
frassati fest
Teens and leaders raise their hands in the air during an activity at the annual Frassati Fest at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in Wisconsin Dells, which happened from February 2 to 4. To view or purchase photos, go to (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

WISCONSIN DELLS -- To the left of the main stage at Frassati Fest, there was a photo booth.

The more than 400 participants, leaders, and guests, could wear silly costume accessories, hold flags, or hold each other, and get their pictures taken for later memory and social media use.

The pictures provide but a split second reflection of what happened on the weekend of February 2 to 4 at Kalahari Resorts and Conventions in Wisconsin Dells.

The annual fest is a chance for teens from all over the Diocese of Madison, and surrounding areas, to come together and grow together in Christ and community.

Full of memories

The weekend was full of various snapshots, from the aforementioned photo booth, to social media posts, to memories shared with friends at and outside the festival.

“I really wanted to connect with God better,” said first-time participant 15-year-old Faith Merz from Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish in Sun Prairie.

“Even if you don’t know much about God, it’s still nice to come and get, meet new people -- it’s a new environment,” she added.

Another first-time participant, 15-year-old Casey Cole, also from Sacred Hearts, said she liked getting to “see people from other parishes” that she already knew from time at Camp Gray and Love Begins Here.

She enjoyed being with Catholic peers who keep her “on track” while being “not too serious and having fun the whole time.”


Making memories happen

A team of both adult and teen leaders made Frassati Fest happen.

Nearly 40 teens who have participated for a couple of years transitioned into being leaders.

Molly McCaulley, from Christ the King Parish in McFarland, is one of those leaders. This year was her fourth year at Frassati Fest and her second on the planning team.

“The fellowship that we build here” keeps her coming back year after year.

McCaulley, her sister Sadie, and other Christ the King members on the planning team helped the parish bring its largest group to Frassati Fest -- 16 people.

Like most of the teens at the fest, she looked forward to Saturday night’s Holy Hour with Eucharistic Adoration and Confessions.

“It’s so beautiful to see hundreds of people adoring the Eucharist, going to Confession, and opening up their hearts,” said McCaulley. “It’s just a really beautiful, transformative time for a lot of people.”

Breakout sessions

Another example of teen and adult leadership coming together was during the breakout sessions for men and women on Saturday morning.

One of the keynote speakers, Blaine Hechimovich, former Camp Gray counselor and long-time Love Begins here group leader, tag teamed with teen Kyle Rehrauer from Holy Mother of Consolation Parish in Oregon for the men’s session.

Rehrauer related his faith journey to the story of Mary and Martha from the Gospel of Luke.

He talked about the “Holy Spirit shoves” he’s had in his life where instead of being a “Martha” and focusing on work -- grades, sports, chores -- opportunities like Confirmation retreats, weeks at Camp Gray, and a weekend at Frassati Fest let him put that all behind him and focus on being at the feet of Jesus like Mary was.

Hechimovich, in a passionate presentation, encouraged the young men to “be men.”

“You want to do to something, with your life,” he said. “You don’t just want to coast through.”

“You are called by God to be a man,” he added.

He encouraged the young men to come up with examples of authentic manhood in their lives or ones that are well-known.

Keynote Speaker Rebekah Scaperlanda, current mission advancement coordinator for the Evangelical Catholic, facilitated a similar session for the young women.

Other activities

This year’s Frassati Fest, which had the theme of “Pursuit,” included many other opportunities for faith and fun.

Along with water park time, there was time for parish groups to be together, and even a little partying.

There was also a weekend-long competition between the two emcees -- Rachael Schiedermayer and Bridget Knight-- along with all the participants divided into two teams, with a variety of activities such as how long one could keep their hand in ice water.

The weekend came to a conclusion with Mass on Sunday celebrated by Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison.

For more information on Frassati Fest, go to

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