Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Catholic Youth Celebration theme: ‘Soak Up the Son’

by Jami LeBrun, Inland Register staff

(From the March 17, 2005 edition of the Inland Register)

This weekend, hundreds of high-school-age youth from throughout the Spokane Diocese will gather at Gonzaga Prep for the annual Catholic Youth Celebration. The event is sponsored by the youth ministry office of the diocese, which coordinates the planning by 13 high school students from throughout the diocese who make the Diocesan Youth Council (DYC).

The weekend begins Friday evening with registration and an introductory session led by DYC members. Youth will return the following morning for a jam-packed day of workshops designed specifically to address issues that affect their age group, carefully crafted skits that incorporate this year’s theme – “Soak Up the Son” – games, and free time. The day concludes with the much-anticipated “Saturday Night Live,” an evening that allows the youth to socialize with friends – both new and old – and relax their brains after taking in so much throughout the day.

Saturday Night Live offers something for everyone. A well-chaperoned dance, complete with lights and deejay, will allow energetic high school youth an opportunity to get their groove on. Others may make their way over to the blow-up fun area, where they can put on sumo wrestling or jousting gear and impress their friends with their finesse. Still others can choose to participate in a three-on-three basketball tournament – complete with brackets and referees. Those who are looking for something a little lower key can go to the café, where snacks and board games are available. The Gonzaga Prep Chapel will be open throughout the evening for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Reconciliation, as well as praise and worship sessions.

Youth will return Sunday morning to conclude the weekend with Passion Sunday Mass, celebrated by Bishop William Skylstad. In addition to the Mass, Bishop Skylstad will also lead three workshops. He is scheduled to spend the entire weekend with the youth.

“The Catholic Youth Celebration is a wonderful gathering each year for the youth of our diocese to come together to celebrate who they are as Church, to come to know one another, and to deepen their awareness as disciples of Jesus,” said Bishop Skylstad.  “I have always found this event to be inspiring and joyful. Our youth should and must have an important place in our faith community.”

Jackie Keyes is the youth minister in Pasco and plans to bring about 50 people to this years’ CYC. She believes that Bishop Skylstad’s presence at CYC is an integral part to meeting the goals of the conference.

“The bishop’s investment of his own very valuable time shows the youth that they’re important to the Church,” she said. “CYC also creates a connection between the youth of Spokane and the youth of outlying areas, and gives the youth from small towns and parishes a great sense of connection to the diocese – they begin to realize that they’re connected to a bigger thing.”

Katie DeBord, a member of St. Patrick Parish in Pasco, is a member of DYC and has spent countless hours with her fellow team members planning CYC. The team has organized everything from the keynote speakers and workshops, to skits and ice breakers. Despite all the work, and despite the occasional sacrifices DeBord has made to help make this event a success, she said it is all worth it.

“CYC is always such a fun experience,” said DeBord, a three-year veteran of the event. “And it’s such an involving experience – it helps you to realize that the Church is bigger than the youth in your own parish.”

Paul Mach, the Youth Ministry Consultant for the diocese, said that one of the goals of CYC is to create a wider sense of Church among the youth.

“We want to give them an opportunity to build solidarity with other youth,” he said. “We want them to realize that the Church is huge, that there are others like them and give them a chance to connect that and bring it back to their own parishes and become involved.”

Keyes could not agree more. She said, “An event like this is something that shows that the diocese has an investment in the youth of today and the future of the Church.”

For those who are interested in attending CYC but have not yet registered, registration is available at the door for $45. For more information on CYC, please contact Paul Mach at (509) 358-7314, or check the Youth Ministry page on the diocese’s web site:

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