People with special needs were protagonists of the ‘Night to Shine’ Prom, the first ever held in Rome.
Sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation, the event took place Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, at the Università Europea di Roma with the stewardship of Nostra Signora di Guadalupe parish and the patronage of the Pontifical Academy of Life. The Academy was established by Pope Saint John Paul II with the objective to defend and promote the value of human life and of the dignity of the person.
According to its website, the Tim Tebow Foundation, founded by Tebow, a very Christian athlete and philanthropist, “exists to bring Faith, Hope and Love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.” The foundation carries out that mission through seven areas of outreach, including W15H, Timmy’s Playrooms, Orphan Care & Prevention, Adoption Aid, the Tebow CURE Hospital, Team Tebow and Night to Shine.
“The Tim Tebow Foundation,” it says, “is committed to celebrating people with special needs.”
Every guest of Night to Shine entered this complimentary event in the Eternal City on a red carpet complete with a warm welcome from a friendly crowd and paparazzi.
Once inside, guests received the royal treatment, including photo stations, a catered dinner, a live band, a dance floor… all leading up to the moment when each guest was crowned king or queen of the prom.
“It is awe inspiring to see how God is using the Church globally to stand up and advocate for people with special needs,” said Tim Tebow.
“I truly believe that the world is coming together through Night to Shine to celebrate the love that God has for us! Every town, every village, every state, every country needs a Night to Shine for their special needs community – a chance to be a part of something significant and life-changing…and to be blessed in the process,” he added.
Michael Severance, operations manager of the Acton Institute, volunteered and called the prom event an “incredibly dignified and joyous experience.”
“It was a joy of interior freedom while serving God’s most beautiful sons and daughters, just as Pope Francis has taught us so well,” Severance said.
Father Michael Baggot, L.C. and Vatican Museums’ Faith & Art tour guide, said: “I thank God for the #NightToShine held at the European University of Rome. I was blessed to see the joy of our special needs guests of honor who were each crowned kings and queens of the prom.”
“As MC,” he noted, “I was privileged to introduce Tim Tebow to share his message of love for life. It was also a joy to explain briefly our Shroud of Turin exhibit to the attentive Tim Tebow Foundation group. The long and beautiful night concluded with a celebratory dinner where I enjoyed talking about faith, history, Rome, and the culture of life with Tim and his gracious wife Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters.”
“The Tim Tebow Foundation,” said Ryan Thomas, foundation spokesperson, “is excited to welcome them to this worldwide movement that is uniting churches of different denominations all over the world with the common goal of celebrating people with special needs.”
Night to Shine has experienced incredible growth, now in its sixth year of existence. The event launched in 2015 with 44 host churches and 15,000 volunteers honoring more than 7,000 kings and queens of the prom. This past February, 655 host churches and 200,000 volunteers came together to celebrate 100,000 honored guests with special needs.
Now in its sixth year, the Tim Tebow Foundation expects over 700 churches around the world to participate in the event on February 7, 2020.
As sponsor of Night to Shine, the Tim Tebow Foundation provided each host church with the official 2020 Night to Shine Planning Manual, personalized guidance and support from a Tim Tebow Foundation staff member and access to free and discounted resources that will assist them in creating an unforgettable night for their guests.
The foundation also has committed nearly $3.5 million in financial support to hundreds of churches needing assistance in hosting the event.
ON THE NET:
For more information on the worldwide movement of Night to Shine: http://www.timtebowfoundation.org/index.php/night-to-shine/