“God loves you. Jesus saves you. Christ is alive!” These reminders, contained within Pope Francis’ letter to the youth of the world, were reinforced by Archbishop Charles Thompson of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis during his homily at the closing National Catholic Youth Conference liturgy. NCYC took place Nov. 21-23 in Indianapolis, Indiana and attracted more than 20,000 high school-age youth from across the country.
The NCYC Mass highlighted the third and final day of the biennial gathering. Earlier in the day, teens could be seen in the convention center’s “village” collecting last-minute souvenirs and exchanging texts with newly made friends before and after the day’s breakout sessions.
One feature of the conference was trading – everything from little trinkets from one’s diocese to unique hats. Delegates from the Cleveland Diocese began the weekend wearing hats featuring animals; however, they had the option to trade with others. Many attempted to procure a trade of a miter from an attending bishop. However, as Archbishop Thompson mentioned with a smile, his miter and chasuble were a matching set and they would never fit -- given his small stature.
During a video segment posted on diocesan social media, Bishop Nelson Perez reminded the delegates how to return to the diocese: “Be hopeful. Be joyful. Bring back the joy and the magic that’s happening here back to the Church of Cleveland to let them know that our youth are strong, vibrant and committed to the Lord.”
Early Sunday morning, the Cleveland delegation began their journey back to the diocese taking with them a weekend full of memories.
Nora, a parishioner at St. Paschal Baylon Parish and a St. Joseph Academy senior, said that her most memorable part was during Friday night’s adoration as “people were funneling out of their seats to be closer to the Eucharist.”
“I came to NCYC to grow in my faith and to find my vocation,” said Andrew, a sophomore at Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin School.
As he closed his homily, Archbishop Thompson challenged those present, telling them. “You have been called to holiness. Claim your place in the Church. Claim your place in the kingdom of God.”
Before the liturgy’s final blessing, the conference hosts announced the theme for #NCYC2021, “Ablaze,” in reference to the Acts of the Apostle Chapter 2. Conference goers were asked to read Acts and then bring a friend before they gather back in Indianapolis in two years.
Complete coverage of NCYC can be found on the diocesan Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts as well as Bishop Perez’s Twitter and Instagram. Social media followers can also search and the hashtag #NCYC2019 for additional posts.
Click HERE for a large image gallery from the trip.