November 27, 2015

National Catholic Youth Conference 2015

NCYC helps ‘young people have an encounter with Christ,’ organizer says

By John Shaughnessy

Kay ScovilleThe scene moved Kay Scoville to tears—a moment she regards as one of the many blessings from all her work and planning for the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in Indianapolis on Nov. 19-21.

The scene unfolded in the early evening of Nov. 19 as Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin lifted the Blessed Sacrament and led a procession through the Indiana Convention Center where teenagers at the conference stopped what they were doing and knelt in reverence.

“There were thousands who participated, either walking in the procession or kneeling on the route,” said Scoville, in her 10th year as the archdiocese’s director of youth ministry. “That always moves me to tears to see the reverence of the young people.”

Another highlight for Scoville was watching thousands of youths from across the country lining up to have their confessions heard at the conference.

“The goal of the planning team is the same as the goal of Pope Francis—that young people have an encounter with Christ,” she said. “They were encountering Christ in the sacrament of reconciliation, and they were taking another opportunity for that in the eucharistic adoration chapel.”

Seeing young people embrace those opportunities reveals what matters most to them, Scoville says.

“Every generation thinks that what the desires of the teens are, what their interests are, change. But when it comes down to it—in the past, present and future—what young people want are relationships, relationships with other teens and with adults. They’re looking for encounters—not through social media—but directly with others because that’s how we are Christ to each other.”

Scoville’s encounters with some of the 23,000 youths at the conference—including 1,520 teenagers from the archdiocese—also had an impact on her faith.

“It’s really amazing to talk to the youths,” she said. “There was an overwhelming, positive response. I heard, ‘This is awesome,’ ‘we had a great time,’ ‘we’re coming back.’ They really enjoyed meeting Catholics [from] across the nation. And when you see young people embracing a devotion that’s been around for thousands of years, that just re-energizes your own faith, knowing we’re passing along the faith to them.”

Scoville praised the nearly 600 volunteers who set aside time to make the conference a memorable and safe experience for the youths.

“For many of the volunteers, this was their third time of helping with the conference since it’s been in Indianapolis. The volunteers are all ages, all abilities. We had some who were in wheelchairs. They were from places all across the country, not just Indianapolis. They were always willing to help.”

She also saluted the members of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department who patrolled the Indiana Convention Center, Lucas Oil Stadium and the streets outside both those conference venues.

“They were phenomenal in terms of making the experience safe and secure for the youths, which was a concern considering the situations that have been happening in Europe,” Scoville said. “The safety and security of the young people were at the top of the priorities for everyone this year.”

She is also thrilled that the conference touched the lives and influenced the faith of so many people.

“I just have a lot of gratitude for a really awesome event—and for the youths, the chaperones, the volunteers, the bishops, the priests, the seminarians, the speakers and the national staff that were all part of it.

“There’s a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.” †


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