November 24, 2017

National Catholic Youth Conference 2017

‘Have fun, enjoy, keep Christ at the center’ of NCYC, Archbishop Thompson tells youths

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson, left, prays the eucharistic prayer during a Mass for archdiocesan participants at the National Catholic Youth Conference at St. John the Evangelist Church on Nov. 16. He was assisted by 17 priests of the archdiocese. Shown in this photo are kneeling, Father Patrick Beidelman, left, executive director of the archdiocesan Office of Worship and Evangelization, Fathers Joseph Rautenberg, Douglas Hunter, Jonathan Meyer, Kyle Rodden and Eric Augenstein. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson, left, prays the eucharistic prayer during a Mass for archdiocesan participants at the National Catholic Youth Conference at St. John the Evangelist Church on Nov. 16. He was assisted by 17 priests of the archdiocese. Shown in this photo are kneeling, Father Patrick Beidelman, left, executive director of the archdiocesan Office of Worship and Evangelization, Fathers Joseph Rautenberg, Douglas Hunter, Jonathan Meyer, Kyle Rodden and Eric Augenstein. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

The call and response echoed back and forth: “NC!” “YC!”

It’s a chant familiar during the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC), but not one typically heard within the confines of a church.

But it’s how Father Patrick Beidelman, executive director of the archdiocesan Office of Worship and Evangelization, helped the more than 1,100 youths from across central and southern Indiana kick off the opening of NCYC after Mass at St. John the Evangelist Church in Indianapolis.

“We’re going to get really loud and really rowdy!” he told the congregation. “But then we’re going to get very quiet and very prayerful as we take the eucharistic presence of Christ into the streets of Indianapolis.”

And so after the calling of the chant—the right side of the church calling out “NC!” followed by the left side responding with “YC!”—the 1,100 youths, chaperones and parents then reverently knelt as the Blessed Sacrament was placed in a monstrance and incensed before being processed across the street to the Indiana Convention Center.

The chanting and procession were the culmination of a special Mass for archdiocesan NCYC participants celebrated at St. John on Nov. 16. The Mass was concelebrated by Archbishop Charles C. Thompson and 17 priests of the archdiocese in the afternoon prior to the first general session of NCYC.

In his homily, Archbishop Thompson told the youths that the NCYC experience “is about keeping God at the center.”

“We seek to be motivated by God’s Spirit,” he said. “When we fall away from God, that’s when we get chaos.”

He then spoke of wisdom, referring to the day’s first reading from the Book of Wisdom.

“Wisdom comes on God’s time,” the archbishop said. “That’s why we have to be people of prayer.”

He noted that true wisdom does not follow the wisdom of the world.

“Remember who we follow—one who was humiliated, rejected, killed, despised. That’s our leader. To the world’s wisdom, that makes no sense. But to true wisdom, that’s where happiness is to be found—by embracing the sufferings of Jesus.”

Archbishop Thompson outlined six ways to embrace true wisdom: by employing faith, trust, hope, confidence, love and a Christian attitude.

“This weekend, let us allow the truth of God to permeate our hearts as we witness those six ways. … [Then] we can achieve what Pope Francis calls for: to continue to cultivate a culture of encounter, of accompaniment.

“Have fun, enjoy, but keep Christ at the center and take the wisdom of a Christ centered life back to your homes, your churches, your schools. Christ has called us here because he believes in us to bring about the Kingdom of God.”

The opening Mass set the right tone for the conference, said Stephen Darda, a youth from St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis.

“It was good to start NCYC with the Mass because it brings everyone together,” Stephen said. “We’ll end with it, too, so it’s great to start and end it with everyone coming together.”

And as for the chanting?

“You never yell in a church like that, so it was cool,” he said with a grin. †

 

(See all of our NCYC 2017 news coverage here)

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