Matt Maher will play for soldout Godstock

By Peggy Moraczewski

What could be better than April in the Texas Hill Country with great music floating through the air? Seven hundred teens from across the Diocese of Austin are about to find out, when they gather at Eagle’s Wings Retreat Center (EWRC) in Burnet to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Godstock. 
Over the last decade, thousands of young adults from Central Texas have experienced this Catholic weekend music festival, the brainchild of Betsy Foarde, a former youth minister at St. Albert the Great Parish in Austin.
“Our vision for Godstock was always to make the event profoundly Catholic, high quality and as economically accessible as possible. Through the generosity of the literally hundreds of volunteers and supporters, Godstock has been able to provide opportunities for our young people to encounter Christ in a profound way,” Foarde said. 
With a desire to make the 10th anniversary celebration extra special, EWRC stepped out of its financial comfort zone and extended an invitation to Matt Maher. He is a two time Grammy awards nominee who has participated in multiple World Youth Days, including 2013 in Rio de Janeiro with Pope Francis. And, this year, he is the music headliner and keynote speaker for Godstock! Katie Haffner, EWRC coordinator of operations, said, “The staff left it up to God,” and watched with amazement as donors came forward to underwrite Godstock 2015. 
After months of planning, teens, youth ministers, priests, religious, musicians and volunteers will arrive on April 11 for the weekend adventure. While the inspirational speakers and entertainers on this year’s docket are remarkable, the key to the success of the retreat lies in the hearts of the young adults attending and their openness to the presence of Christ in their lives.
More than 125 acres of land provides ample space for Frisbee, flag football and sand volleyball. But, there will also be service projects, rosary-making, and the opportunity to visit with women religious and priests at the “Women in White” and “Men in Black” booths. 
Father Jonathan Raia, diocesan Vocations director, said, “(Godstock) is a blast and I am looking forward to being there and hope to see many of our youth there as well.”
Liturgy of the Hours and ongoing reconciliation are additional blessings of the retreat. A significant option for the teens is the opportunity to spend quiet time in a location referred to as Meditation Mountain. 
Recalling a story from the past, Haffner said one of the retreat leaders asked a young woman descending Meditation Mountain about her experience. The young woman responded, “It was great. I spent an hour visiting with my dad.” The leader must have had a quizzical look on her face because the young woman continued, saying, “He died last year.” Taking a break from the commotion of everyday life can reap many blessings, Hafner said. 
Music, speakers, Mass and juicy burgers cooked by the Knights of Columbus from St. Albert the Great Parish will prepare the way to the pinnacle event on Saturday evening, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Under the stars, in a procession set in motion by the lifting of the monstrance containing the consecrated body of Christ, “kids go from dancing, singing and whooping it up, to silence … you can hear a pin drop. They are on their knees in a field, bowing down to worship Jesus. It’s just beautiful,” Haffner said. 
Bishop Joe Vásquez will celebrate at the Sunday morning Mass. Monsignor Elmer Holtman, Chaplain at EWRC, and Father Jonathan Raia are among the celebrants and speakers for the retreat. Local popular band, Soundwave, will provide the liturgical music at the masses, with Cooper Ray and Paul Finley rounding out the musical talent for the weekend. 
Godstock sold out quickly! For information on future events at Eagle’s Wings Retreat Center, visit