Pirates and prayers, friends and faith, reconciliation and the river —
these were only some of the elements brought together by this year’s
10th Annual Diocesan Youth Convention.
The Aug. 9 and 10 convention, whose theme was “Caught in the Current
— Go with the Flow,” was held alongside the Genesee River at
Rochester’s Crowne Plaza Hotel. The theme was meant to compare life
events to the stages that can occur along the river of life: stepping
into the river, encountering rocks, rough waters, flood waters,
droughts and waterfalls, where people learn to let go and follow God’s
More than 550 teens, young adults and chaperones gathered under the
chandeliers of the Crowne Plaza’s ballroom for the opening program on
the morning of Aug. 9. A band of pirates, bearing a resemblance to
Diocesan Youth Committee members, took the stage first, vowing to
“search for Jesus on every shore.” Bishop Matthew H. Clark, introduced
by one of the pirates as “the man who takes the ‘sin’ out of Sinbad,”
took the podium to a standing ovation.
“Thanks for being who you are and for being here to share that
precious gift with us. The fact remains that you and I all face common
challenges, no matter what the number of our years. When I experience
how you’re doing that, it helps me negotiate the challenges of my own
life,” Bishop Clark said.
Doug Brummel, a Catholic-Christian comedian, storyteller and
teacher, entertained convention participants after lunch by assuming
the personalities and appearances of fictional characters of different
ages and backgrounds.
“It’s just amazing how he can just turn into a character and stick
with it. You really get to relate to the characters in many different
ways,” said 17-year-old Brian Streicher of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in
In the afternoon, youths were invited to think about their faith
during a prayer walk along the Genesee River and a reconciliation
The same way a river is fed by many different tributaries, the
convention was formed by the contributions and talents of Catholics of
all ages and cultures from around the diocese. Youths from Immaculate
Conception Parish of Rochester entertained participants with a
liturgical dance performance, and six urban parishes opened their doors
to convention participants. St. Bridget, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Our
Lady of Good Counsel, St. Michael, St. Stanislaus Kostka and Holy
Redeemer/St. Francis Xavier Parishes welcomed youths for a cultural
meal specific to each parish’s heritage. Some parishes gave tours of
the church buildings, while others provided cultural music.
On the night of Aug. 9, the Big Daddy Celebration Stage allowed
youths to contribute their musical talents to the convention while
honoring former youth minister Dennis Reno of the Winton-Culver Parish
Cluster in Rochester, who died of a stroke in February.
On Aug. 10, attendance swelled to more than 650, due in part to a
Mass with Bishop Clark and the Diocesan Youth Committee commissioning
ceremony that followed it. All former DYC members were invited to
attend and stay for the remainder of the convention, which included two
rounds of workshops. One of the workshops was specifically geared
toward former DYC members.
Many of the teens in attendance are also going to the National
Catholic Youth Conference, which will be held this November in
“We’re going to Houston in November so I just thought this would
prepare me for it,” said Stephanie Regan, 18, a young-adult assistant
from Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Greece.