Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

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

Thirst. Encounter. Rejoice: Catholic Youth Celebration 2014

by Father Gustavo Ruiz Juarez, for the Inland Register

(From the September 19, 2013 edition of the Inland Register)

History demonstrates our diocese’s long-standing commitment to support of parish-based youth ministry. Conferences, congresses, and retreats, but most prominent, and most important, has been the annual Catholic Youth Celebration (CYC), bringing together youth and adult youth ministers from throughout the diocese and sometimes even the region.

We can all read the numbers. We can look out on our communities during Sunday Mass and the faces we see speak for themselves – or, perhaps even more eloquently, the faces we don’t see. The question has been asked since time immemorial: How do we attract not only attendance, but participation, by our young people in the life of the Church?

How can we convince adolescents and young adults that the parish is just as much their home today as it was when they were unquestioning children? How do we minister to our people – especially to our young people, nudging up against the crucial transition to becoming independent, grounded adults?

It’s not just a matter of attendance. It’s also a matter of participation – and after that, retention. We have to help forge those lasting connections between our parish communities and all of our people. With CYC, we have a proven ministry tool that will assist us as we minister, as we form relationships, as we form community, as we connect this vital demographic to the rest of our mission to evangelize.

The good news is that the diocese is again taking an active role in supporting CYC for 2014: “thirst.encounter.rejoice.”

A planning committee with representation by youth ministry – laity, clergy, Religious – is already working to present a dynamic CYC experience that will speak to all our youth and their adult mentors and leaders.

CYC 2014 has been scheduled for the weekend of March 14-16 at Gonzaga Prep in Spokane. The weekend will be a celebration and reinforcement of the dynamic, passionate faith possessed by young Catholics in every corner of the diocese, a faith that they, in turn, will bring back to their parishes, to invest in the life of those communities. CYC excites, it empowers, it strengthens, it challenges, it exhorts.

Although not every parish can take part, there’s no question but that the Church in Eastern Washington benefits from the ministry of CYC and those who participate. It’s our hope that you will encourage your youth and youth leaders to be part of the CYC 2014 experience. We hope that you will support this exciting effort in any way you can – by facilitating attendance, with financial support, with your prayers for our success.

It wasn’t that long ago that Pope Francis captivated the world through his immersion in World Youth Day in Rio. Ministry with, to, and among our youth is no less dynamic, no less riveting – and the ripple effect can be just as conclusive. Help us bring together our youth. Help us create this watershed moment for this year’s youth ministry – a moment that has the potential to enliven parish communities in every part of Eastern Washington.

Thanks to all those with whom I’ve worked on this year’s planning committee: Deacon Paul Heric, Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes; Jeanette Benson, youth minister for St. Augustine and Sacred Heart parishes, Spokane, and St. Mary, Spokane Valley; Martha Jimenez, youth minister, Walla Walla; Sister Margarite Marie Stringer of the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church, youth minister at St. Peter Parish, Spokane; Danielle Aceveda, youth minister at Holy Family Parish, Clarkston; Mary Bustos, youth minister at Sacred Heart Parish, Othello; Steve Lee, youth ministry volunteer at St. Peter Parish, Spokane; Bill McMillan, youth ministry volunteer at St. Mary Parish, Spokane Valley; and Fathers Jeff Lewis (pastor of the parishes in Chewelah, Springdale, Valley, and Jump-Off Joe) and David Kuttner (parochial vicar for the parishes in Walla Walla and chaplain at DeSales High School, Walla Walla).

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