"Big Four" Highlights


Nothing to “Rave” About

A call to prayer and action over a threat to our children

By Salvatore A. Restivo

During my two years as the Knights of Columbus state deputy of New York, I was contacted regularly by people from all walks of life who had questions or concerns on almost every topic under the sun. Even now, as immediate past state deputy, I am used to picking up the phone and hearing an unusual story or request. But one recent call took me by surprise.

Nothing to “Rave” About

The caller was a concerned mother who said that a mutual priest friend of ours, Father Frank, had asked her to call me. Not wanting to turn down a request from such a good priest, I listened to the woman as she told her story. “Have you ever heard of raves?” she asked, her voice somewhat hesitant. I told her that I had not. “Have you ever heard of the drug Ecstasy?” I said I’d heard of the drug but I was not familiar with the effects or how it was used. She told me of raves events in New York City, Nassau County, Los Angeles, Dallas, upstate New York, and cities in Europe that attract tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of teens. It seems these events begin about noon on one day and last until the early hours of the morning of the next. Young people from ages 12 to their early 20s gather and listen to electronic music played by DJs. Lights pulsate to beats that steadily increase in speed. The effects on the attendees cause heart rates to increase and body temperatures to rise to the point where the use of cool-down rooms become necessary. In addition, there are reports of an unknown substance sprayed in the air and drugs, including Ecstasy, readily available. The caller began to tell me about her son, who suffered a psychotic breakdown nine months after attending such an event and taking Ecstasy. She requested a meeting to talk with me further.

I asked her what she wanted from the Knights of Columbus. I expected to hear a dollar amount but was surprised when she said, “We need the Knights to pray.” While I am convinced that we all need to pray for guidance, I also believe we need to understand what actions are needed and to pray for the strength and courage to to act.

We met the next day along with Father Frank and another mother who had similar experiences with her daughter, who quit her job so she could follow raves around the country. Though she is “beautiful and in her early 20s,” she refuses to communicate with her mother. The first woman’s son does communicate with his parents but has had a total transformation from a religious and charitable young gentleman to a self-absorbed and disjointed person who refuses to discuss his activities regarding raves.

The discussion centered on what actually happens at these huge events. The mothers reported that at the rave held May 2013 at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets baseball team, at least 50 ambulances were ready to transport attendees to waiting emergency rooms. Cool-down rooms were set up to treat those who became overheated due to the drugs ingested and increased heart rates and blood pressure. On the stage, props mimic religious themes, electronic music blasts and a laser light show pulsates to the music. Young ladies dressed as nuns in what seems to be traditional habits greet concert goers. When these “nuns” turn their backs to people, the clothing is so sheer that one can see their skin and undergarments. There are other disrespectful and even blasphemous practices that make me think that this is a cult in the making.

Doctors in Los Angeles, New York and Dallas have warned against raves because of the health risks to youngsters and young adults. The Centers for Disease Control have warned of Ecstasy overdose “clusters” at raves and report that during 2005-2009 emergency room visits involving teens and Ecstasy increased by 70% nationwide. Put these facts together with a festival-like atmosphere, a crowd mentality, loud pulsating music, and flashing lights and you have an atmosphere to entice teens to unusual behaviors. Drug and alcohol use at raves have caused attendees to become incapacitated, paralyzed, comatose, and in some cases they have died.

It is obvious that raves are big business because despite the “Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act of 2003, which was passed by Congress because of raves, events still take place in the United States. In fact, the next rave is planned for Sept. 27-29 in Chattahoochee Hills, Ga.

Recent reports on cable news outlets tell about the proliferation of molly, a powered form of Ecstasy. This attempt to rebrand Ecstasy is in essence a very successful public relations stunt causing curiosity among teens and increased use of Ecstasy.

What should we do? The request was: “Ask the Knights to pray.” The moms I met with are part of Project Jericho, which began in France by mothers in response to raves. Project Jericho has also come to Long Island. This group stands outside of raves and prays for the youngsters’ safety and the end to such events.

We need to start with prayer but it cannot end there. Prayer cannot be the “be all and end all” of our commitment or actions to support the physical and moral health and safety of our children and our future. As fathers and grandfathers, we have an obligation to keep our families safe. As parents, we need to protect our children and take action now. I urge each brother Knight to pray with his family. Create your own Project Jericho in your homes, parishes and councils. Pray for strength and for the restoration of the family. Educate yourself on these events. Be vigilant so that you are aware of where and when raves are coming to your area. Contact your local officials, express concern and demand action. While all of this may not be easy or convenient, your prayers will strengthen you. Pray with your family. Pray for your family. Pray for our youth. Pray for our Church. Pray for the conversion of our country.

Salvatore A. Restivo is a retired educator from Long Island and New York past state deputy for the Knights of Columbus.