National Conference Calls Youth to Learn to Listen

By Jennifer Kollasch

Last week, 143 delegates from the Diocese of St. Augustine attended the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in Indianapolis for a three-day faith experience that was guided by the Holy Spirit.

Photo by Mary Mullin

The diocesan delegation joined 22,000 youth and adults representing 125 dioceses across the country. The theme of this year’s conference was “Called / Llamados, ” and from the interactions of the young people, there were some definite conversions of faith happening and quite a few answers to the Lord’s call in their lives!

The youth were challenged to identify why they were called to this special weekend. They were “Called to listen,” “Called to more,” and “Called to service.” And the responses from the youth were profound.

We had many blown away by the sheer mass of peers who emphatically wanted to share their experiences – empowering our youth to feel called to share their faith with others when they return home.

Many felt the call to listen quite literally. They voiced the need to slow down and begin a more frequent prayer life, and even some acknowledged they need to listen to their parents and friends more.

Photo by Mary Mullin

One young lady told of a more profound conversion. She comes from a Catholic home where her faith is practiced regularly, and she is an active member of her youth group. She has received all of her sacraments of initiation and viewed this weekend as a fun time to party with other Catholic peers.

She thought she was in good standing regarding her journey. Until Friday, when she felt personally attacked by God because her contact lens tore and she would now be forced to wear her glasses. She went to bed angry, and it wasn’t until the morning session on Saturday that she was overcome by the Spirit and realized that it wasn’t her contact that was torn but her relationship with God. She had taken her vision of her faith for granted, and she had been CALLED TO MORE.

The power of NCYC isn’t just conversions with youth, but the ability for them to identify them and then voice them! There are so many adults in their lives who cannot identify why they practice their faith, and yet, here are our youth are proclaiming it and owning their conversions!

The adults who attended are not without their own conversion experiences too. If you know a young person who attended, ask them about the beauty of their experience at NCYC. If you know a youth, who would enjoy attending, call them to prepare for the 2019 session.