1 – There were zero talks on what I would consider the top 5 threats to the Catholic Faith of teenagers. Nothing on:
a. How science and Catholicism are compatible
b. Catholicism and homosexuality
c. Catholicism and transgender issues
d. How to respond to the new atheists (nor was there anything on how to respond to the old atheists)
e. Catholicism and same-sex marriage
I have no idea why the top 5 threats our Catholic teens were not addressed head on. They may have been mentioned at some point in some break out session, but you would have no way of knowing. Those 5 topics need to be the TITLES of talks.
2 – Intentionality. Every conference needs to welcome in people at the beginning and recognize where they are, but then there needs to be an intentional plan to help them MOVE to a new place, closer to the Lord. I did not feel like NCYC did that. At some point there needs to be an intentional ….”we’ve talked about the ways in which we are hurting and broken…and so now we are all moving towards confession…this is what confession is…we now have an opportunity to do that…and then this is Jesus in the Eucharist and adoration…this is the fulfillment”
It just seems like all weekend there are confessions available without intentionality and then there’s adoration but it isn’t a moving the group, together, through those stages nor through catechesis. I’m not blaming Mark Hart’s talk on adoration because it was PHENOMENAL…I just mean I’d like to see an intentional and catechetical movement that everyone knows about and is working on.
3 – Our young people need to see liturgies (Mass, liturgy of the hours, and adoration) that are the liturgical rites of the Church, and not amended. There is a humility in submitting to the liturgical texts and rites of the Church.
4 – a lack of silence in adoration. The group adoration in Lucas Oil stadium had really loud music playing almost completely throughout adoration, and I think there was literally about 90 seconds of silence. Imagine how powerful it would be for our young people to be in a place where 18,000 people were all together in silence.
And you don’t need noise to cover over confessions. Priests know how to do confessions quietly, or you could also move confessions out into the concourse.
I’m sure some will accuse me of bemoaning all of his lack of silence to my young people, but I literally made a commitment to not say a word or make weird faces or in any way express my discomfort with the lack of silence, but as my kids walked out of adoration, they expressed to me an exasperation with how adoration went.
Also with regard to silence, I went to the adoration chapel set up in the convention center. The following things interrupted it. I was never able to have more than 10 minutes of silence in the chapel despite trying numerous times.
1 – adoration ended so that there could be a teaching Mass
2 – a religious order giving a talk while Christ was exposed, and then proceeding to invite everyone forward to be blessed by an image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help while the Blessed Sacrament was exposed.
3 – A priest giving his vocation story while the Blessed Sacrament was exposed
4 – my young people wanted to go to the chapel so we did, and there was a reflection/homily being given
5 – after that, my young people were hoping for silence, but an organist started in with music and asked everyone to join him in the songs
Young people want and can handle silence, and those who haven’t experienced it will be moved by it when they experience it. We don’t have to keep the young people moving/talking/singing…let them spend time in silence with the Lord, particularly as our world gets louder, more frantic, and more under the iron grip of the dictatorship of noise.
Have an adoration chapel where only adoration takes place. Do all the other prayer/music/Masses/blessings/witness talks somewhere else.
5 - You have tons of seminarians at the conference. Let them serve the liturgies. They are contemplating giving their lives to the Church...why not hold them up and let them do what they have received tons more training for?
1 – I bring my young people to NCYC mainly to see thousands of other young Catholics who are willing to give Jesus Christ and His Church a try, and many who are living it vibrantly. My young adults go to 7 different public high schools, and most of them have only 1 or 2 other Catholics in their entire school. NCYC is a 45 minute drive to show them thousands of other Catholic teens.
2 – Every single speaker that we heard was absolutely amazing. The keynote speakers of Immaculee Ilibagiza, Mark Hart and Sister Bethany Madonna were mind-blowingly great. Our breakout presentations that we attended were also very much loved by our group.
3 – There was a nice emphasis on chant and beautiful liturgical music. I know my group appreciated that very much.
4 – I loved the lectio divina modeling that took place. That was a great idea!