He thought he would stay on the sidelines. But Jacob Olivares found himself in the center of it all.
The Palmdale teen held his candle tight as he processed into the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) with dozens of other teens chosen to accompany Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez in a Eucharistic procession. The 16-year-old said it was a moment he’ll never forget.
“I assumed I was just going to be a watcher but I got to be a contributor. I got to be a part of something big,” said Olivares, a parishioner of St. Mary Church in Palmdale. “It was really cool.”
Being part of something bigger than yourself was one of the major themes of the NCYC, which drew nearly 3,000 young Catholics to the Long Beach Convention Center the weekend of Nov. 10-12.
The West Coast conference included musical performances, speeches, and workshops for ministry leaders. (NCYC)
Sponsored by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, the event included speakers, breakout sessions, music, and Mass. Youth ministers, diocesan staff, and clergy also participated in workshops for those in leadership. Normally held in Indianapolis, NCYC headed west this year after the urgings of Archbishop Gomez, who wanted the conference more accessible to local youth. The archbishop welcomed the 450 member LA delegation with a private Mass.
“It is a beautiful celebration of faith,” said Archbishop Gomez during his homily. “And I think for all of us in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles it’s a great blessing to welcome so many young people from other places.”
Christina Lamas said she watched the teens’ happiness build over the course of three days.
“There is a hunger. … The pandemic increased that hunger to gather with their peers,” said Lamas. “To witness firsthand their excitement speaks to that need on the West Coast.”
“It created a space for them to encounter the Lord in a personal way and through each other,” said Dayrin Perez, coordinator of youth ministry. “… Hearing their experiences left me inspired and full of hope! The young Church is alive!”
“One goal — an encounter with Christ. That’s it,” said Llamas. “Then I hope they take this back to their parishes and live it out.”
Full story at Angelus News.
These youth events are a bunch of baloney. Look at that pic. You think putting crosses on the balloons makes it a holy event? It’s a party, not a faith formation event. It’s emotional manipulation. It’s Big Catholic Music and Big Catholic Religious Ed trying to sell merchandise. Don’t kid yourself, Archbishop. In five years 80% of the teens who attended this event won’t be going to Mass anymore, if they are even attending now. When your model of youth ministry requires manipulating teens into a frenzy or an emotional high, it sets them up for disillusionment at the parish and in adult life because it’s not sustainable and it’s not realistic, and it’s not at all what Christian discipleship is about. This could be considered child abuse.
Think about it: if the rock music and lights and balloons really, really worked, then why doesn’t adult faith formation use any of it? Why do we do this to teens and lead them to believe that this is what Catholic faith is?
Rap lyrics with Jesus aren’t holy. Balloons with crosses aren’t holy.
My God, the Church has no clue what to do to evangelize. So they put on stupid events like this. Not a clue.
So much of youth ministry is a fraud and a failure.
Dear Baloney, if youth are helped to embrace the disciplines of prayer, spiritual reading and sacramental life through such gatherings, then let them enjoy the balloons and lights etc.
That’s not what’s happening. These things are Catholic Spring Break.
Hah! Well if Baloney is there to meet them at Mass, they sure won’t come back!
Hey Baloney, what the evangelization program that you run for teens and young adults look like? We’re really interested. You got a website or something?
When youth ministry is more about the photo op than the youth. See? See? We’re reaching the youth! Really, we are! See?
“If you follow him and trust in him, if you live by his words and his will, he will give you strength to do beautiful things in your life,” said Archbishop Gomez. “And he will never leave you, never let you sink. Just call on him in your weakness, in your struggles, just as Peter did.”
If you click on the link to read the whole story you’ll learn that a Native American prayer ceremony was conducted at this event. Always placating and celebrating the Indian pagan rituals. Why?
There was also a Native American prayer and adoration led by the Kateri Circle of SoCal.
They are Catholics,
So it’s OK to do Easter Eggs and Christmas Trees but they can’t do their thing?
The “young church” certainly doesn’t attend Mass at my parish.
If these conferences can get thousands of kids to attend one more Mass, it is worth the trouble!
We live in a digital age where 30 seconds is a long concentration period. We live in an era when millions try to attend one singer’s concert. Approaching youth with the techniques of 40 years ago won’t work. Today you can get high-quality master’s degrees without ever stepping on campus. We live in an age when the average person under 40 checks their phone hundreds of times a day. It seems to me the parish priest must learn how to have a youth conference every Sunday. They won’t come to the old-fashioned Mass. Let’s modernize the Novus Ordo and bring it into the new age, after all, it is 60 years olds; time to revamp, and make it new.
Ew. You used the NO words. They are in your head.