By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
INDIANAPOLIS — Some 25,000 teens had just spent an hour in silence during eucharistic adoration following a long, full day of activities at the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC 17). As Father Joseph Espaillat II carried the monstrance away from the altar in the cavernous Lucas Oil Stadium, one of the youths in the audience experienced a health issue and required assistance.
She belonged to a group led by Mike Linnenbrink, coordinator of youth ministry for parishes in Farmington, Houghton, St. Paul and West Point. Father Dennis Hoffman, pastor of the Farmington and West Point parishes, and a chaperone who is a nurse assisted as they were able.
Maureen Gross, director of NCYC 17, was walking through the stadium and saw the youth in distress and the adults working to help her.
Gross introduced herself and comforted the girl as Linnenbrink spoke to her mother by phone. Despite her many responsibilities, Gross drove the teen back to the hotel. “I think she felt it was her responsibility,” Linnenbrink said.
“She’s awesome,” he added, describing Gross. “She took (the teen) by the hand and calmed her down. She stayed with us the whole time and then drove (the teen) back to the hotel. She’s just a servant leader.” He said he later told the teen that Gross “is your guardian angel.” The teen is doing fine now.
“After that whole experience, the first thing that came to mind: this is Jesus, who can notice someone in need in a crowd and leave the crowd to go focus on that person,” said Don Boucher, director of the Davenport Diocese’s Faith Formation office.