Hundreds gather at annual Diocesan Youth Conference
BLACK MOUNTAIN — Youths from 33 churches across the Diocese of Charlotte participated in the 35th annual Diocesan Youth Conference April 27-29 at the Ridgecrest Conference Center in Black Mountain.
The theme for the annual conference was "Stand Firm: One. Holy. Catholic. Apostolic." That theme was carried through all of the talks, workshops, activities, music and worship services held during the conference.
Paul Kotlowski, director of the diocesan Youth Ministry Office, stated in his welcome message for the youths: "Let us be one. Let us work with a like mind and a like Spirit in the Lord. We put aside any differences in race, customs, views, and appearance and stand as a people in one accord. Let us be Holy. Holy is difficult in the year 2012. Let us become what we receive in the Eucharist and be walking tabernacles for Christ. Let us be Catholic. The adjective 'catholic' means all-inclusive and useful to all. Let us embrace the stranger and welcome everyone to our faith. Let us be apostolic. This means that we are relating to the Apostles and their teachings. As we carry on the tradition of the first Christians, let us exemplify their dedication to Jesus. As you stand firm this weekend, I encourage you to always remember that we are rooted together in faith. We believe and trust in God's will as we stand firm as Catholic brothers and sisters: One. Holy. Catholic. Apostolic."
The event also included a convocation of youths surveyed for their opinions on what the diocesan youth ministry should be doing moving forward, both at the parish as well as the diocesan level.
Katie Herzing, youth minister at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Charlotte and a member of the Youth Ministry Convocation team, said more than 470 youths participated in the survey earlier this spring.
"We found some results particularly interesting," she reported: 84 percent of teens surveyed attend Mass at least once a week, 60 percent said they enjoy going to Mass, 67 percent volunteer at least once a month, 44 percent feel closest to God in the Eucharist, and more than half attend their parish's youth ministry program "quite a bit."
Yet, she added, 65 percent of teens said they are scared most about their life's purpose and their future, and 75 percent said they have never considered a religious vocation.
Many teens said they don't know how to share their faith, and are scared to do so because of lack of knowledge or out of fear of what others might think.
Teens discussed the findings and how they could gain a better understanding of the needs of the youths in strengthening their faith.
— Patricia L. Guilfoyle, editor
FROM THE PASTORS
Read and listen to homilies posted regularly by pastors at parishes within the Diocese of Charlotte:
- Fr. Frank Cancro at Queen of the Apostles
- Fr. Patrick Earl at St. Peter in Charlotte
- Fr. John Eckert at St. John the Baptist in Tryon
- Fr. Timothy Reid at St. Ann in Charlotte
- Fr. Benjamin Roberts at Our Lady of Lourdes in Monroe
- Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte
- Watch full Masses live and on demand, listen to homilies and reflections from Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury
- Listen to homilies from St. William Catholic Church in Murphy