Youths encouraged to strengthen connection with Christ

Youths encouraged to strengthen connection with Christ

yya-webJason Evert, a presenter at the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis Nov. 17-19, has his photo taken with members of the youth group from Our Lady of Peace Parish, Williamstown.

From staff and wire reports

INDIANAPOLIS — In a soft voice touched with reverence, 17-year-old Nicole Richardson recalled one of the most poignant moments of the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis Nov. 17-19.

It was a moment that revealed the depth of faith that many young Catholics share, a moment that showed the hope and the promise of the Catholic Church now and for the future.

The moment occurred as Richardson walked toward the Indiana Convention Center in the late afternoon of Nov. 17 with her group of 34 teenagers and adults from Holy Cross Parish in Orlando, Fla.

Across the street, the heavy wooden doors of St. John the Evangelist Church suddenly opened and a eucharistic procession of about 2,000 people flowed down the street and toward the main entrance of the convention center, stopping traffic at rush hour in the heart of the city.

Seeing the Eucharist on display in a new 3-foot-high monstrance made in Poland, Richardson and the others in her group knelt on the sidewalk as the procession passed by on a cold, windy, gray day.

“It was so beautiful to see in such a busy city how quiet and reverent it was,” she recalled. “Even if you weren’t Catholic or you don’t have religion, it would have showed you how faith can change people, how faith can change the world.”

As the procession weaved its way through the crowded halls of the convention center toward a chapel that had been created in one of the ballrooms, teenagers and adults lined the route, most standing quietly, others bending to kneel, some wiping away tears.

“With everyone singing the same chant, it just felt like we were all one,” said Justus Schremmer, 17, a member of St. Mary Parish in Russell, Kan. “There was that feeling of unison. It was the feeling of being part of something bigger.”

From the Diocese of Camden, 36 youth and adults made the pilgrimage to Indianapolis, coming from the parishes of Holy Angels, Woodbury; Our Lady of Sorrows, Linwood; St. Gianna Beretta Molla, Northfield; and Our Lady of Peace, Williamstown.

For the whole contingent, “it was inspiring to see 23,000 youths gathered, and celebrating the Catholic faith together,” said Kari Janisse, youth minister at Our Lady of Peace.

Jeff Young, youth minister at St. Gianna Beretta Molla, was pleased that there were a number of conference workshops, devoted to social media such as Twitter and Facebook. In order to effectively communicate with the youth, and get the Catholic message across, these forms of digital media must be utilized.

“That’s where they are, that’s what they understand,” he said.

About Author