November 29, 2019

National Catholic Youth Conference 2019

NCYC teens offer promise for the present, future of the Church

Youths from the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa, worship in song during a session at the National Catholic Youth Conference at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis on Nov. 22. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

Youths from the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa, worship in song during a session at the National Catholic Youth Conference at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis on Nov. 22. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

“Viva Cristo Rey! Long live Christ the King!”

Those words from Archbishop Charles C. Thompson’s homily during the closing Mass for the biennial National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) on Nov. 23 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis punctuated a three-day gathering of faith for 20,000 teenagers, chaperones, clergy, religious, speakers and volunteers. The liturgy celebrating the Solemnity of Jesus Christ as King of the Universe ended the pilgrimage of faith.

And the fact that a 2012 film, For Greater Glory, recalled the brutal martyrdom of 14-year-old Jose Luis Sanchez del Rio of Mexico during the Cristero movement where many were killed for being Catholic, as Archbishop Thompson noted, opened the eyes of teens to learn of someone their age who literally died for his faith.

Though the young people who attended NCYC will, God willing, not suffer the same as now-St. Jose Luis (canonized by Pope Francis in 2016), the teens were encouraged to have the courage to live out their lives of faith in all they say and do.

In today’s world, we know that is no easy task.

Their charge as they returned home was to harness the energy and excitement that resulted from the gathering, which offers so much promise for the present and the future of the Church. This year’s theme, “Blessed, Broken, Given” (“Bendito, Partido, Entregado” in Spanish) encouraged teens to use God’s gifts, not be afraid of life’s challenges, know they are never alone, and live out their vocation as missionary disciples.

We hope the stories and photos featured on pages 1A-12A in this week’s special keepsake issue of The Criterion paint a portrait of a young Church that is serving as a beacon of light in a troubled world. The regular Nov. 29 issue is included as the center 12 pages of this keepsake edition. Although they are in the center, the pages are designed to be pulled out.

For more photos from the conference, visit www.CriterionOnline.com.

The regular section is labeled page 1B to 12B. Our regular features are included there: Archbishop Charles C. Thompson’s column, “Faith Alive!,” Calendar of Events, Opinion, Obituaries and other local news. We hope you enjoy the young people’s stories, their enthusiasm and their passion for our shared faith.

—Mike Krokos, editor

 

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