It happens once a year, when thousands of young people come together for the National Catholic Youth Conference. It’s the largest youth ministry event in the country, and this year drew more than 12,000 people — and 22 bishops — for three powerful days at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. This year’s theme was “Decide to Live Fully Alive.”
Each day is filled with dynamic events. Think inspiring speakers, Mass and adoration, live music performances and interactive exhibits, and all in an effort to empower today’s young Church.
“NCYC creates a welcoming, vibrant space for young people to come together with each other and with Christ, and it does so with light-hearted fun as well as serious prayer and liturgy,” says Pre-Associate Dan Masterton, Coordinator of Pastoral Ministries. “It’s an outstanding model for us and the life of our Church.”
Viatorians were there in multiple capacities. Br. Peter Lamick, CSV, Director of Vocation Ministry, partnered with Dan and Br. John Eustice, CSV, to promote the community at a booth in the exhibit hall. They met with countless young people, many of whom said they were considering religious life, as well as members of other religious congregations.
“Meeting young people from across the country, many of whom had never met a religious brother before, was a joy to witness,” Br. John says. “I was surprised at how many young men said they were thinking about religious life and priesthood. All the young people provided an excitement about the faith of the church that is extremely refreshing.”
Br. Peter agreed, adding that Viatorians want to contribute to the efforts of the Church across this country to raise up young disciples of Jesus Christ.
“Our presence and visibility with other religious institutes and diocesan priests offers an important witness to our young people that consecrated life and priesthood is very much alive in the Church today,” Br. Peter said.
Associates Juliann Dwyer and Rosy Hartz brought a delegation of 14 high school students from St. Viator Catholic Community to Indianapolis. They were part of a group of 40 teens from the Archdiocese of Las Vegas that made the trip.
Juliann had accompanied the teens last year to NCYC when it took place in Los Angeles, and once again this year she was struck by the eagerness of teens to learn more about their faith.
“Last night’s adoration was fabulous,” Juliann said. “I loved Bishop Joseph Espaillat from New York and his workshop on prayer today. It was great.”
Rosy agreed, adding: “I’m so proud of the teens for leaning into the journey. I hope they always remember that they have companions, but the real relationship that leads them to give joy to others is their relationship with God. They are never alone. One day at a time, we are all in this together.”