Contributors Do whatever he tells you

Looking for a Christmas gift for a teen? Look no further.

Do whatever He tells you
Rick Cheek is the associate consultant for the office of evangelization and Catholic formation of youth.

“Today, here in this Mass, is the most important thing you will do all week. This is the reason we exist, and if you don’t choose God in this life, you are not going to be able to choose him in eternity.”

— Father Adam Wilczak’s Sunday homily on the solemnity of Christ, King of the Universe.

As parents, we are the first educators of our children. But it takes all of us in the church to help our young people to choose eternity when they are being bombarded daily to choose the world.

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann talks frequently to young people throughout the archdiocese about how important a relationship with Jesus is to their personal spiritual development. One powerful tool to expedite an encounter between young people and Christ is a mountaintop experience.

This Nov. 17-19, I had the opportunity with my small advanced team to lead 215 young people and adult leaders to NCYC 2023 “Fully Alive” in Indianapolis.

National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) is a powerful and unique three-day experience of prayer, community, evangelization, catechesis, service and empowerment for Catholic high schoolers and their adult chaperones. Several teens shared with me they had participated in “the best Mass ever” at this mountaintop event.

Mountaintop encounters are not just for high school students. February 25, 2024, is the archdiocesan Jr. High Rally at Prairie Star Ranch in Williamsburg. The theme is “Transfigured,” based on the readings for the Second Sunday of Lent. Stacey Sumereau will be the keynote speaker and lead the girls’ breakout session; the guys’ break out session will be led by Braden Johnson; the Mikey Needleman band and Mike Debus will help lead praise and worship; and the archbishop will be the celebrant for Mass.

The first talk is “Living a Transfigured Life: Apologetics for Generation Alpha.” What does it mean to live transfigured in America in 2024? Stacey will dive into seeing God working in our story, staying strong in a hostile culture and defending our faith.

The second talk is: “If you do nothing else, do THIS.” How could Abraham’s faith withstand God’s testing him by demanding the life of his only son? This talk focuses on building a relationship with God that can withstand trials. With a regular practice of surrendering to God’s will, anyone can live the fullness of Pope John Paul’s exhortation to “Be not afraid!”

Parents or grandparents, if you are seeking an encounter with Christ for your children or grandchildren, consider a ticket to the Jr. High Youth Rally this February.

About the author

Rick Cheek

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