Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
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National Catholic Youth Conference celebrates ‘Hope at the Crossroads’
by Cassie Gibbons, for the Inland Register
(From the Jan. 17, 2002 edition of the Inland Register)
Late last year, four high school youth from Spokane joined 25,000 Catholic youth from around the country in attending the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in Indianapolis, Ind. From our diocese, there was freshman Jessie Labrie, sophomores Joe Baird and Caitlin Labrie, and senior Annie Maloney.
The adult youth minsters accompanying them were Dan Glatt, youth minister for Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Spokane; Paul Mach, the diocese’s Youth Ministry Consultant; and myself.
The NCYC theme was “Hope at the Crossroads,” with a focus and a special congress on vocations.
Annie and Caitlin were among 80 young people who represented various dioceses from around the country. They were able to attend special congress sessions with people from all walks of Religious life. Those who weren’t participating in the congress were able to attend the general sessions, where we heard powerful and dynamic speakers and chose from a variety of youth-oriented workshops.
In Raceway Park, there was a huge kind of vocations fair where youth and youth ministers could meet and talk to representatives of various Catholic service organizations, Religious communities, Catholic colleges, and so on. There was a Life Teen coffeehouse, where youth could play and sing; labyrinths for prayer walks; murals to paint; and huge cardboard blocks in the shape of the letters HOPE. We signed the cardboard with our prayers and blessings for the families and victims of Sept. 11.
The entire conference was full enthusiasm and the presence of God was awesome! The youth traded pins, buttons, e-mail addresses and stickers. It was amazing to meet youth from so many different states and share with them the love that we have in our hearts for God and for our Catholic faith.
There were three main speakers, all of them inspiring. For me, the two most impressive were Ann Binder, an Eyewitness journalist from Indianapolis, and Renee Bondi, a singer and teacher. Each of these amazing women have had suffering in their lives, yet they are able to find hope in God their Savior to encourage and strengthen them and to let God work through them to bring others hope and inspiration.
For entertainment, there was everything from hip hop and punk to a Scottish rock band called Ceilli Rain. On Saturday night, the youth had the option of going to a dance, a comedy club, a coffeehouse and choosing from other fun activities.
With the experience of incredible liturgies, amazing music and youthful energy, I found God’s presence growing in my heart and a renewed sense of hope and vision for the Church.
For more pictures of the conference, visit < a href="http://www.ncyc.org">NCYC's web site.
(Cassie Gibbons is youth minister at St. Joseph Parish, Otis Orchards.)
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