Many of our students traveled with their parish youth groups to Indianapolis last week to attend the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC), organized by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry. The three-day event at Lucas Oil Stadium, which this year focused on the theme of Called, offers youth and their chaperones the opportunity to experience prayer, community, evangelization, catechesis, and service. Approximately 25,000 young people and adults from around the country attended.
Participants attended breakout sessions on topics relevant to living as a disciple of Christ in today’s world as well as general sessions, including prayer, liturgy and guest speakers, such as Sr. Miriam James Heidland, SOLT. On Friday evening, the general session featured compline night prayer led by the monks of St. Meinrad, and some of our students were able to take part. Senior Ethan Furnish was a lector, and seniors Heidi Popson and Olivia Dome were also on stage participating.
Senior Skylar Richey attended with the Our Lady of Perpetual Help youth ministry, which included her younger sister, freshman Peyton Richey. Skylar said she enjoyed being able to strengthen her faith, from attending Mass with more than 25,000 people to listening to various speakers.
“I started my days by attending uplifting morning sessions, and I got to end my days by listening to inspiring speakers talk about their faith,” Skylar said. “Overall, NCYC was an awesome experience, and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to go on this trip.”
Junior Sam Kruer, who attended with the youth ministry of St. John Starlight and St. Mary’s Navilleton, said he was grateful for the chance to deepen his faith as well as hear different viewpoints that opened his eyes to teachings of the Church. He especially related to the keynote presentation given by Sr. Miriam James, who spoke on the topic of success and failure, and how people define themselves by those events.
“We should define ourselves by our success (she said) because success trumps our failures every time,” Sam said. “This applies specifically to me in my sports because I make mistakes and sometimes they turn out badly, but I need to learn from the mistakes and move on because I do more good than bad in a game or practice. I loved NCYC, and I’m sad to know I don’t get to go again two years from now and have another wonderful experience.”
Sophomore Dylan Payne attended with the youth ministry from Sacred Heart, and he particularly enjoyed meeting Catholic teens from around the country as well as the inspirational speakers.
“NCYC was an unforgettable experience and helped me to better my relationship with Jesus,” Dylan said. “I really encourage anyone who hasn’t gone to NCYC to go and experience it for yourself. What I really enjoyed most was hearing the keynote speakers and hearing their stories of how God has called them in their lives. I also liked meeting all these amazing kids who are my age and who have the same beliefs as I do. Overall NCYC was an amazing experience.”
Freshman Katie Beyl attended with the youth ministry from St. John Paul II and said she was touched by the opportunity to share the experiences of prayer and liturgy with thousands of people in the same place.
“Every day was jam packed, but every moment was a chance for all of us to strengthen our faith in Jesus,” Katie said. “The closing Mass on Saturday night was breathtaking. It was so cool to see all these young Catholics joining together to grow and strengthen their faith in God. I am sad the amazing experience is over, but I cannot wait to come back next time!”
In related news, art teacher Ms. Stephanie LeBrun painted a mural that was used at NCYC. The mural of trees covered a long wall in an area with various fun activities. She completed the mural over Fall Break.
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