December 11, 2009

National Catholic Youth Conference 2009

NCYC is a place where amazing things happen, archdiocesan teenager says

By Alea Bowling (Special to The Criterion)

On Nov. 19, about 21,000 young Catholics from all over the country arrived in Kansas City, Mo., for the National Catholic Youth Conference, a gathering of Catholic high school students that occurs once every two years.

Better known as NCYC, the conference is four days that are jam-packed with appearances by some of the most popular Catholic musicians and speakers of today: Steve Angrisano, Matt Maher, Ceili Rain, and Jason and Crystallina Evert, just to name a few. The atmosphere is electric, the experience is unforgettable and the memories last for a lifetime.

As a member of St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis, I traveled to Kansas City with 33 other adults and youths from my parish. I was also one of more than 600 people from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. The day we arrived, we attended the opening session and were introduced to our emcee for the conference, Steve Angrisano. He presented the theme for NCYC 2009, “Christ Reigns.”

During the conference, we would learn about how Christ reigns in us, through us and around us. The Sprint Center was completely filled with energetic young Catholics who were ready to sing, dance, and shout to express their love for God and the Church.

The second day of the conference brought an opportunity to attend a variety of workshops and take a walk through the “Reign Forest,” an entire floor of booths from Catholic colleges, religious orders, music publishers and much more. As one of four youth ambassadors for the archdiocese, I had the responsibility of co-leading two workshops with another ambassador. Together, we were responsible for leading prayer, introducing the speaker and concluding the workshop.

The ambassador program gave me a great opportunity to meet new people and be part of the largest national event for Catholic youth. Also, I was privileged to be involved in the making of a documentary of NCYC 2009 and a promotional video for NCYC 2011 in Indianapolis.

Branden Stanley, a young videographer from Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish in Indianapolis and founder of Starlight Media Productions, and I were allowed on the floor of the Sprint Center to film and photograph the concerts and speakers for use in the documentary. The experience of being able to see the thousands of youths brought together by the Catholic faith is one I will never forget. Incredible opportunities abound at NCYC. It’s a place where amazing things happen.

The next NCYC will be held in

Indianapolis in 2011. The theme for that conference is “Are You Ready?” Are you ready to be amazed by the number of youths devoted to their faith? Are you ready to be challenged by incredible people who have dedicated their lives to the Church? Are you ready for your life to be changed? If so, I’ll see you at NCYC 2011!

(Alea Bowling celebrated her 18th birthday during NCYC. She is a member of St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis.) †

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