Saints attend National Catholic Youth Conference


Peter Deegan, News Editor

On Thursday, November 19, 118 Xavier students traveled to the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana to attend the 12th annual National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC).
This year, the Archdiocese of Dubuque set a record for the most parishioners in attendance with 1,624 parishioners. About 1 in every 14 NCYC attendees was from the Archdiocese of Dubuque. Among those attending were juniors Connor Miller and Faith Satern. Miller and Satern served as NCYC animators: young people who take lead roles during NCYC general session programming by leading prayer, song, and dance from the NCYC main stage.
“It was cool to see how God can use you to lead others,” Miller said.
The conference began with a performance by For King and Country, a Christian music duo composed of Australian-American brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone.
“Christian rap is my new favorite genre,” Xavier junior and NCYC attendee Gabriella Schroud said.
Following the opening, Fr. Leo Patalinghug introduced the theme of NCYC 2015, “Here I Am Lord,” and attendees constructed an altar of rocks from around the world. Friday morning, evangelist Chris Padgett spoke about Mary’s response to God’s call and acceptance.
“God accepts everyone, the strange and the weird,” Padgett said.
Following the Keynote presentation, attendees had the opportunity to attend the first (of five) rounds of breakout sessions. These smaller, specific talks covered topics ranging from “Technology and Evangelization” to “Native American Faith.”
“The talks really take you out of your routine and make you realize what matters,” junior Annie Sigmon said.
Attendees migrated to the Indianapolis Convention Center to attend these talks, among other activities. In the evening, attendees participated in XLT, a format for Eucharistic adoration that includes praise and worship music, catechesis, prayer, and silence.
“I finally saw something more than bread during adoration,” sophomore Erin Hassenstab said.
On Saturday morning, CEO of Catholic Relief Services Dr. Carolyn Woo talked about how she is living her response to God’s call.
“Let love be your driving force,” Dr. Woo said.
That afternoon, attendees had the opportunity to participate in a dance, NCYC Comedy Club, and/or NCYC’s Top Talent. Saturday evening, more than 23,000 attendees and chaperones filled Lucas Oil Stadium for closing Mass. During communion, over 300 bishops, priests, and deacons fed far more than 5,000 in a mere 20 minutes and 6 seconds. At the end of Mass, Archbishop of Indianapolis Joseph Tobin offered parish announcements.
“There will be no coffee or donuts served after Mass,” Archbishop Tobin said. “The mayor of Indianapolis informs me there are no donuts left in Indianapolis.”
The event concluded with a retirement proclamation of Dr. Robert (Bob) McCarty, executive director of the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM).
“Bob took an unrecognized, small Catholic group without any funds and turned it into an internationally-recognized public entity for youth,” Archbishop Tobin said. In other words, Bob the Builder fixed it.