Speakers inspire, challenge NCYC attendees
by Jessica Langdon
Abbey Davies of Sacred Heart Parish in Emporia had done her homework.
By the time she arrived in Indianapolis for the National Catholic Youth Conference on Nov. 17, she knew the sessions she planned to attend.
One of the first on the list? Jason and Crystalina Evert. She had heard the couple speak before.
The Everts, who presented a “mega-workshop” in a large auditorium, struck a chord with their audience. The workshop was called “Sex in the City of God,” and it focused on chastity beyond mere abstinence. The couple touched on a lot of issues, ranging from feeling pressured to have sex to starting over after having made some mistakes.
It was one of the sessions Andrew Gaffney of St. Matthew Parish in Topeka also wanted to hear. He took a theology of the body course last winter.
“I want to go back and talk to them and hear their talk again,” he said.
“They’ve been through it,” said Morgan Valburg, a member of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Onaga. Coming from them, “it’s easier to understand.”
The information offered in the sessions, from the massive general sessions to the smallest breakout workshops, was packaged for the young NCYC audience to understand — and enjoy.
Dallas Barnett went to NCYC with the group from Holy Angels Parish in Basehor. He was happy to recognize many of the songs of the artists and enjoyed learning about his faith with so many other people his age.
“We all like the same things pretty much,” he said.
Allison Crist, also with the group from Holy Angels, was impressed by the message of a couple of the sessions.
“The first one was about building new friendships,” she said. “The second one was the rapper, where he talked about family planning.”
Amber Garver, also with the Holy Angels group, remarked on the energy at the conference — and on that session featuring a rapper rapping about family planning!
The large Holy Angels group went together on Nov. 18 to Father Tony Ricard’s presentation, which took a fresh look — with some modern-day twists — at the story of creation through Revelation.
“He was funny,” said Allison. “I think I’m going to take a lot back with me.”
Garrett Farlow of St. Matthew Parish in Topeka especially wanted to go to the “Clearly Catholic” presentation by speaker and singer Steve Angrisano.
“He’s a very inspirational speaker,” he said of Angrisano, who was the emcee for the 2009 NCYC in Kansas City, Mo. Garrett calls himself Angrisano’s biggest fan. Angrisano talked about ways the teens can put their faith to work in their everyday lives.
His message was not lost on Alex Marron of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Kansas City, Kan.
“You need to be appreciative of every little thing you have in life,” he said.
Dalton Jones of Christ the King Parish in Kansas City, Kan., gained some new insights from a pro-life presentation. It was an issue he was aware of before, but hadn’t really looked at closely.
“They say like 42 million babies were aborted last year,” he said. “What if my mom did that to me? These are kids that have no voice at all. They want someone to love. They’ve never done anything wrong.”
After attending the session, he said he wanted to do something about it.
NCYC also offered sessions for adults, discernment sessions, and opportunities for youth to talk in small groups with bishops — about anything.
Youth from across the archdiocese expected NCYC to make an impact on their lives, long after they’ve headed back to their home parishes.
“I think I’m going to take this experience and bring it back to my school — people who didn’t get to share NCYC with us — and just share the love of God,” said Mary Tuttle of Curé of Ars Parish in Leawood.
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