Column: Youth consultant finds event planning yields impressive fruit

Rick Cheek is the associate consultant for the office of evangelization and Catholic formation of youth.
Rick Cheek is the associate consultant for the office of evangelization and Catholic formation of youth.

by Rick Cheek

These are some of the things I’ve heard from our students:

“It’s going to be hard to write everything I learned in the past week. . . . It’s always been easy for me to write about how much my friends mean to me, or how I feel in love, but it has never been easy for me to write about my faith. I’ve always been afraid to talk about God, afraid of what people will think. I hope to overcome this difficulty and tell you about what I learned this week and how it has hopefully changed my life. The relationships I’ve been in, the friends I’ve chosen, and the choices I’ve made in the past couple of years have not always reflected the kind of person I wanted to be. Through reconciliation, I was able to put the mistakes I had made into the past, and to start all over again. It’s amazing to me that that was all that was keeping me from God this whole time.” (Elizabeth, St. Bernard Parish, Wamego, at Catholic Heart Work Camp)

“I cannot explain to you the amazement I felt this weekend. I went back to school today, talking to my counselor about how much I enjoyed everything and how much of an eye-opener it was to hear not only Catholics but every other religion believe in the same thing. I’m so excited for next year now, and the years to come if they (the politicians) don’t hear us. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to go, because it was truly amazing, and I wish I could explain my whole experience, but I would seriously make you read this for hours then! Thank you.” (Emily, Bishop Ward High School, Kansas City, Kan., at March for Life)

Sometimes it feels like I’m just an event planner in the archdiocesan youth office. I go from one event to the other, doing my best to bring the truth of God to as many young people as I can. Then, when I get comments like the ones above from young people, it makes it all worthwhile.

Doing what we do doesn’t just happen overnight. There’s a lot of prayer and discernment that goes with it. I like what one parent said to me a couple weeks ago: “Thank you for not watering down what you do.”

With Camp Kateri Tekakwitha, TEC, Prayer and Action, Pro-Life Boot Camp, March for Life, and junior and senior high rallies, our young people have a variety of choices to help them grow in their faith. Pick any of these to help your son or daughter connect to the Catholic faith and meet other young Catholics from around the archdiocese.

Two years ago, Christ truly did reign in Kansas City at the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC). Once again, our archdiocese will be sending young people to Indianapolis for NCYC 2011 to “Called to Glory” from Nov. 17-19. Contact your youth minister or the youth office for more information.

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