By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
This summer, eight youths and four adult leaders from the Diocese of Davenport learned to see liturgy in a new way at One Bread One Cup, a five-day liturgical leadership conference hosted by St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology each year.
“They taught us not just what to do, but why we do it,” said Donna DeJoode, who accompanied a group of youths from the Oskaloosa area.
The liturgical leadership conference for high school youths focuses on community building, leadership development, catechesis, liturgical and spiritual formation, and theological reflection, according to One Bread One Cup’s website. Youths receive instruction in a liturgical leadership role of their choosing, such as music, serving, prayer leading or reading. Youths then have the opportunity to use their knowledge to help out with a prayer service and Mass every evening during the conference.
Usually, the One Bread One Cup (OBOC) conferences take place at the campus in Meinrad, Ind., but this year one of the conferences took place at Conception Seminary College in Conception, Mo.
“It really is the best youth conference I have ever been to — hands down,” said Patti McTaggart, youth minister for St. Mary Parish-Iowa City, who took a group for the third straight year. She and Father Jeffry Belger of the parish accompanied thee youths to St. Meinrad the last week of June. “What I have found in my experience with OBOC is that each young person that has attended from
St. Mary’s has developed a deeper appreciation of our beautiful Catholic liturgy and how much has to go on ‘behind the scenes’ to prepare for each and every liturgy.”
“You get to see liturgy come to life in kids’ eyes,” said Crystal DeNeve, director of Faith Formation and Youth Ministry for St. Mary-Grinnell. She and her son, Dallas, went to the conference with the Oskaloosa-area group at the end of July. “They get to see that liturgy in a new way. No matter how much they’ve learned in their home parish or families, by helping put it together and being responsible for a part of the liturgy, they can understand and appreciate it more,” she said.
While the conference focuses on youths, adults had opportunities to learn how to better serve youths. DeJoode learned a teen assessment method that she believes will come in handy in the future. “(Presenters) offered three areas in which to assess teens: where are you striving, where are you thriving and where do you need reviving. That’s really easy; kids can relate to that!”
Dallas DeNeve took a class on writing homilies that incorporated Scripture and personal testimony. While he doesn’t feel a calling to the priesthood or diaconate at this time, he thought the class sounded interesting. He believes what he learned will help him in public speaking situations in the future.
Katie Masek of Pella said her faith grew as a result of the conference in Conception and she enjoyed the fellowship with leaders and other youths. “My highlight was the ice cream social with the monks and the crazy hat dance afterward. It was so fun talking to the monks and learning about monastic life.”
Nicholas Ingamells of Oslakoosa said the conference helped him grasp the idea that “we aren’t going to wake up one day and suddenly be perfectly holy. We have to change ourselves.”
The group attending the Conception conference also had a chance to see Brother Matthew (Nick) Marie, a former seminarian for the Diocese of Davenport who is now a member of the Benedictine monastic community at Conception Abbey.
For McTaggart, an added bonus to attending the conference each year is seeing one of her former youths in action. Brother James (Bradley) Jensen, OSB, is an Iowa City native and a leader of One Bread One Cup. “Brother James is, and always has been, a wonderful young man, so it is a blessing to see God’s continued work evolving in the life of Br. James each time I visit the monastery,” she said.
John Krejci of Oskaloosa participated in the conference for a second time. Each year he comes home with something new to reflect upon and work toward. “Looking back on this event, the main thing that I took away was how to apply what you learn from the church, whether it be loving your neighbor, or simply being a devout Catholic.”
“It’s not your stereotypical summer camp,” he said.