November 29, 2013

National Catholic Youth Conference 2013

Best Catholic pick-up lines and stories of love help speaker connect with thousands of youths

Speaker Jackie Francois talks about love during her presentation on Nov. 23 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (Photo by Rich Clark)

Speaker Jackie Francois talks about love during her presentation on Nov. 23 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (Photo by Rich Clark)

By John Shaughnessy

The laughter of 23,000 teenagers roared through Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Jackie Francois had just shared the two favorite pick-up lines that she heard a guy use on a girl at the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC).

The first pick-up line she shared with the crowd was, “Girl, if I had a rosary bead for every time I thought of you, I’d have a glorious mystery.”

As the laughter eventually died down, Francois said, “My other favorite is this one: ‘Girl, I would say God bless you, but clearly he already has.’ ”

Even Francois laughed again at that line during her keynote presentation on the evening of Nov. 22.

“But seriously, we were made for love,” said Francois, a full-time speaker, singer/songwriter and worship leader from Orange County, Calif. “That’s why we do these silly things. That’s why we’re so attracted. We were made for a love that is free, total, faithful and fruitful.”

And the source of that desire to give love and experience love is God, Francois told the teenagers.

“It makes even more sense that we were made in the image and likeness of God as male and female. Why? Because love is never just one. Love is never just in solitude. Love always has the lover, the beloved, and the love between them.

“Now here’s the truth. God wants us to share in his love so he gives us the Holy Spirit who is love. God gives us the Holy Spirit so we might truly be free.”

She then shared two stories of how the Holy Spirit’s influence shaped lives, starting with the story of an 11-year-old girl whose actions led her to sainthood—St. Maria Goretti.

“She was 11 when a man attempted to rape her. As he was attempting, she yelled out, ‘Please don’t do this. You will have mortal sin on your soul, and you will go to hell.’ The man took out a knife and stabbed her 14 times, and she died.

“The man was sent to prison. And in his prison cell, St. Maria Goretti appeared to him and said, ‘I forgive you.’ And by the power of the Holy Spirit, that man had a huge conversion, and his life was changed.”

The man even attended St. Maria Goretti’s canonization with her mother, Francois told the teenagers.

“Can you imagine that? Her mother said, ‘If Maria forgives you, so do I.’ It’s only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can do these kinds of things, that we can forgive someone who hurts us.”

She then shared the story of a young man who had to forgive himself.

“There was a young man, raised Catholic, who when he was in college was very involved in campus ministry,” she began. “He had thought, ‘I’m going to wait until marriage to have sex.’ This young man started dating this girl, and she wasn’t very much into her faith. One thing got pushed further and further. And sure enough, he lost his virginity.

“He started rejecting the Holy Spirit and started to be a slave to his sin. For two years, he was in this relationship that was crippling him. At some point, a friend said to him, ‘Are you even happy?’ He said, ‘No, I don’t like myself. I don’t like who I am.’ The Holy Spirit listened to his heart, and this guy decided to break off the relationship.”

The young man also decided to enter a seminary, to consider a vocation he had thought about earlier in his life.

“In seminary, the healing started to begin,” Francois told the crowd. “He grew into the man of God he was supposed to become. Ironically, when he was in seminary after three years, he realized he was called to marriage. And three months ago, I married that man.”

As the crowd cheered, Francois smiled.

“I am so glad that he told the Holy Spirit, ‘I don’t want to be a slave to sin no more.’ Because the man I married is an amazing man of God, a man who walks with the Holy Spirit, a man who I go to Mass with, adoration with, and pray the rosary with. A man who is truly a new creation.”

That’s the hope and the challenge that Francois shared with the teenagers.

“God is asking you today, ‘Are you going to say yes?’

“If we truly say yes to the Holy Spirit, his gifts will allow us to set the world on fire with God’s love.” †

See more stories and photos from NCYC 2013 here

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