November 24, 2017

National Catholic Youth Conference 2017

‘My faith allows me to think I can make a difference’

Payton DethyPayton Dethy saw the pain that was crushing her friend and knew she had to do something.

“I recently had a family friend die who was in high school,” recalls Payton, 17, a member of St. John Paul II Parish in Sellersburg. “His sister was having a tough time with it and fell away from the faith. I talked to her and had teachers from my youth class talk to her—to let her know we were there for her.

“She goes to church regularly now. It’s helped her have the faith she needs—that there’s something greater in store than the event that happened.”

Payton’s efforts to reach out to a friend in need of support and faith flow from her own experiences of needing support for her faith—a support she’s found in attending the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in Indianapolis with about 20,000 Catholic youths in 2015 and 2017.

During the 2015 conference, she was in her first year of high school at a place that was different from the Catholic background in which she grew up.

“There are maybe three families in the whole school who are Catholic,” she says. “Going to NCYC let me reach out to people who had that background in a strong Catholic community. A lot of them are from Indianapolis. I talk to them on the phone and text them about things that are happening, things I’m going through. Having people I can have these deep conversations about my faith makes a big difference in my faith.”

And sometimes, it helps her to use her faith to make a difference, including to a friend devastated by a tragic loss.

“My faith is something I can fall back on, something I can rely on, a community I can count on when I am having a hard time,” she says. “My faith allows me to think I can make a difference in helping other people.”

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