December 2, 2022

Archdiocesan delegates drawn ‘out of boat, closer to Jesus’ at NCYC 2022

Members of the archdiocesan delegation to the 2022 National Catholic Youth Conference in Long Beach, Cal., on Nov. 10-12 show off their checkered flag bucket hats. They are Cheyenne Louagie, left, Sophia Delgado, Maria Serrato, Addie Gauck, Nick Belby, RJ Sturgill and Kaylee Smith. Cheyenne, Addie and Kaylee are members of St. Mary Parish in Greensburg, while the others are members of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis. (Submitted photo)

Members of the archdiocesan delegation to the 2022 National Catholic Youth Conference in Long Beach, Cal., on Nov. 10-12 show off their checkered flag bucket hats. They are Cheyenne Louagie, left, Sophia Delgado, Maria Serrato, Addie Gauck, Nick Belby, RJ Sturgill and Kaylee Smith. Cheyenne, Addie and Kaylee are members of St. Mary Parish in Greensburg, while the others are members of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis. (Submitted photo)

By Therese Hartley (Special to The Criterion)

LONG BEACH, Calif.—The ripple effects of the 2022 National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) held on Nov. 10-12 in Long Beach, Calif., are sure to reach Indianapolis. A delegation of seven students and six chaperones comprised the archdiocesan delegation to the event that recently moved from biennial to annual, alternating between host cities Indianapolis and Long Beach.

Even though this was his second NCYC, high school senior Nick Belby said this experience took him deeper into his faith life than he had ever before experienced.

“It forced me to open up and find what I was struggling with internally and how that was affecting my life externally and my relationship with others,” said the member of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis. “[This] NCYC was the best experience that I’ve had in my faith life.”

Each three-day NCYC experience features keynote speakers and breakout workshops exploring the challenges the Church’s high school youths face today. The second evening includes opportunities for the sacrament of reconciliation as well as communal eucharistic adoration—often the highlight for the youths in attendance.

“I came to have a much deeper understanding of adoration where I felt the presence of God,” said high school senior Maria Serrato, also a member of St. Luke. “NCYC was one of the most impactful experiences I have encountered with my faith.”

Cheyenne Louagie, a high school junior from St. Mary Parish in Greensburg, called this year’s NCYC “life changing.”

“I grew so much in my faith, and I learned to appreciate [eucharistic] adoration a lot more,” added Cheyenne.

Even adults are impacted by the time for reconciliation and adoration. Chaperone Paige Hash reflected on her experience of the evening through the lens of this year’s NCYC theme, “Walking on Water.”

“Before attending, I felt I was following Jesus closely, as I am sure Peter did before he stepped out of the boat and into the water,” said Hash, also a member of St. Mary Parish in Greensburg. “Just as I am sure the experience of walking on water forever changed Peter, something happened [for me] both in eucharistic adoration and reconciliation at NCYC, something that drew me out of the boat and even closer to Jesus in ways I didn’t see coming.”

Megan Gehrich is the youth minister and coordinator of religious education at St. Mary. She looks forward to bringing the lessons of this year’s conference to her parish and students at home.

“NCYC in Long Beach was one of the most impactful experiences in my life in so many ways,” she said. “Personally, I came to have a much deeper understanding of the gift that the sacrament of reconciliation is, and spiritually, I felt the presence and healing of God through adoration.

“I learned more about how to guide young people on their faith journey, and I learned the importance of taking care of my own faith life in order to help others take care of theirs.”

Every conference impacts participants in a variety of ways, but most cannot leave without some type of conversion.

“NCYC [continues to be] one of the most amazing experiences of my life,” said high school senior and St. Mary parishioner Addie Gauck. “When I attended last year, my life changed for the better. Ever since then, I have helped run [the] youth ministry at my church. It’s truly been an amazing journey.”

The next National Catholic Youth Conference will take place on Nov. 16-18, 2023, in Indianapolis. For more information, go to ncyc.us.
 

(Therese Hartley is director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis.)

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