By Katie Paris
(Editor’s note: Katie Paris wrote the following article for The Lighthouse, a newsletter of Our Lady of the River Parish in LeClaire.)
I recently traveled to Kansas City for the National Catholic Youth Conference or NCYC. NCYC is a three-day conference held every two years for high school students from all over the country. At NCYC the teens pray, sing, learn and celebrate the goodness of our God.
There are various workshops to attend, all about different issues teens have to face in life and how to deal with them. On the final day everyone comes together for a Mass led by the bishops who attend. This year at NCYC, more than 20,000 teens, priests and adult helpers participated.
My experience at NCYC was something I will never forget. I grew an incredible amount in my faith and learned a lot about how Christ works in all areas of life. Of course, there is much more to NCYC than praying and growing in faith. There are things like concerts, dances and of course, making new friends. I can honestly say I feel blessed to have made friends with some amazing teens. One of the easiest ways to meet people is to trade items brought by your parish: things like crazy hats, T-shirts and buttons. It is not uncommon for someone to come up to you and ask to trade hats or some other crazy item with you.
I highly recommend NCYC to all high school Catholics. It is an unforgettable experience that you will cherish in your heart forever. The next NCYC is going to be held in 2011 in Indiana. Until then, I highly recommend getting involved with the church. Go to a retreat like QUEST or COR. Attend the ditch clean up, or serve at Café on Vine. You could even start you own program to help others. To get started, ask around for support. Trust me; there are people out there who would be more than willing to help you. There are so many ways to get involved with the church, even little things like helping to decorate the church for Christmas or Easter. You won’t regret helping out and getting involved. As in the motto for NCYC, step up, step out and get involved. Thank you and God bless.
(Katie Paris is a senior at Pleasant Valley High School in Pleasant Valley and a member of Our Lady of the River Parish.)