Newark teen touts NCYC experience
National Catholic Youth Conference -- this is a name that does not, and cannot, describe how amazing this experience truly is.
If you have ever taken part in this journey of faith, then you know exactly how one can feel, when so overtaken by the Holy Spirit. The theme of this year's conference, held Nov. 17-19 in Indianapolis, Ind., was "Called to Glory." Using this theme for a youth conference was, in fact, a great idea. It inspired me, as well as many other teenagers, to believe that we all are called to do the glory of Christ the Lord. The theme song itself said so, "What we do for the least we do for you." The inspiration of this has caused me to believe there is so much more I can do to help God, his beings and myself.
There were smaller, daily themes we followed in this journey of being called to glory. Finding Christ, Sharing Christ and Being Church were the major ones. By finding Christ in everyday things of our lives I believe I can be a holier, more church person, which led to Being Church in our everyday lives. Sharing Christ is something that not many people can do easily, and I was one of those. Since this experience I have been more open with my faith and religion. Being a teenager, and having the pressures of other peers not believing in the same faith and sometimes even being against what I believe, can make it hard for one to share what he or she believes, and even just be a good, faithful person to what a child of Christ should really do.
Meeting other faith-filled youths is a part of this experience you cannot leave out. Without meeting others, you are not participating fully in what this event is all about. When you meet other teenagers who are as involved in their religion as you are, or how much you want to be, is inspiring in that you wish to feel like this all the time. When you realize that you are truly not alone, and other teenagers believe and have the same morals as you, then you are inspired to go home and find others in your own town that will be with you through all faith things. Even in hometown youth groups you may have trouble finding someone like you, but sometimes you will discover someone who believes in what you do that may not go to your youth group, and it is your duty to reach out to them and invite them to join in, and love your faith like you do.
I also met some amazing speakers; my favorite would have to be Mark Hart, who spoke at an opening ceremony. The stadium was silent other than for Mark’s booming voice, as all of the teenagers were listening to him intently. He inspired me personally, with some things I took note of. Something I remember him saying, that made me think about it, was when he said, "God does not need you. He WANTS you." After pondering this, I believe he is completely right. God does not need anybody particularly, which can be shown in the amount of people in this world who have not found Christ. Yet if you observe this conference you will see the happiness and love of rejoicing when we have him, because he wants us and when we want him back, and have him, how happy it makes us.
One of my favorite parts about NCYC is the amount of singing we do. Song is a great expression of faith. I also loved experiencing Lectio Divina. It was an emotional way of expressing the Gospel and it affected many of us.
One thing that will get to you emotionally is seeing how many people are at this conference, rejoicing about the glory of God. I, as well as many others, cried during the singing of "Let It Be." Many teenagers, swaying and singing --how could you not be emotionally affected?
If you have not yet participated in an NCYC journey, I suggest you do it. I cannot go as a youth anymore because the next time NCYC is held I will be in college, but I will definitely go as an adult, because it is a life-changing, amazing, beautiful experience.
Coleman is a 16-year-old member of the youth group at St. Michael Church in Newark.