November 29, 2013

National Catholic Youth Conference 2013

Unexepected moments show the heart and the success of NCYC, organizer says

By John Shaughnessy

Kay ScovilleIt was a moment Kay Scoville will never forget, a moment when all her planning for the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in Indianapolis seemed to hit a major roadblock in one important area.

Yet all the qualities that Scoville showed in helping plan the event on Nov. 21-23—her attention to detail, her resourcefulness and her faith-filled concern for the 23,000 youths attending the conference—suddenly went into overdrive.

“The highlight of Saturday was discovering that the line for reconciliation was so very long that the set-up was not going to serve all those seeking the sacrament,” recalled Scoville, archdiocesan director of youth ministry.

“So moving into a ‘triage mode’ for all these souls looking for healing, we set up four additional locations for young people to receive the sacrament and began recruiting any available priest to assist.

“At one time, we most likely had 75 priests offering the sacrament, and the lines were as long as what you would see at Wal-Mart on Black Friday. It would be impossible to assess the number who went to confession, but God provided the opportunity.”

That humble success set the stage for the closing Mass later that evening—another highlight of the conference for Scoville.

“With our Archbishop [Joseph W.] Tobin as the main celebrant, it was an amazing conclusion not only for the conference, but to close the Year of Faith,” she said. “The reverence, respect and engagement of the young people was evident during the Mass. And once the bishops and priests processed out, and all were dancing, clapping and singing in celebration, I thought, ‘It has all come together.’ ”

Scoville deflected any credit for the conference’s success. Instead, she praised the archdiocesan staff, the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, and the 600 local volunteers for making the conference possible.

“Volunteers included young adults who returned after having experienced an NCYC previously and who wanted to give back, seminarians for the archdiocese, adults who helped in 2011 and were touched by the lives of the young people they served, and even retired adults in scooters and wheelchairs wanting to offer their time, talent and treasure for the young Church.”

The magical feeling of the conference even continued into the day after the event for Scoville.

“As I was packing up on Sunday, in a now empty convention center, one of the security guards came up to me and asked, ‘Is it true that this conference comes back every two years?’ And I answered jokingly, ‘Yes, do you plan to put in for vacation on those days?’ And he responded, ‘No, ma’am, on the contrary, I plan to schedule myself to work it. It was great! The kids were great! It was all great!’

“His reaction was a true testimony of evangelization for our Catholic Church.” †

See more stories and photos from NCYC 2013 here

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