More than 2,000 Houston-Galveston area youth gather to celebrate faith

July 19, 2013

Catherine Rogan, Media Relations Specialist

More than 2,000 Houston-Galveston area youth gather to celebrate faith
When we think and hear about high school students today, it’s not often we hear about them talking and celebrating their faith, but that’s exactly what will be happening this weekend (July 19-21) at the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston’s Archdiocesan Youth Conference (AYC).

In the largest gathering of its kind, approximately 2,200 participants will gather to celebrate God and their faith and to experience the diversity of the Archdiocese. Throughout the weekend they will be challenged to live out their faith, learn from exciting and informative presentations, make new friendships, and talk about and reflect upon their role in the Church.

“It is incredibly inspiring to see so many young people excited about their faith,” said Daniel Cardinal DiNardo. “The atmosphere is so alive, so vibrant. They want to learn, to be inspired and be involved. This is the face of the Church – they are excited about God, about the Church. They want to share it with the world.”

The theme this year is Unseen Love. “It’s an opportunity for our young people to rejuvenate their faith lives, to get serious about life in Christ and His Church, and to learn the truth of the Gospel,” said Brian Johnson, director of the Archdiocesan Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization (Youth Ministry).

This year’s conference will be the fourth one Sara Hayes, 17, has attended. She said she’s thoroughly enjoyed her past experiences, “Every year, the conference has something different and exciting, but it's still the same Catholic faith I've practiced since I was born. The speakers and music are wonderful, and I love hanging out with the people from my parish and my friends from around the Galveston-Houston area.”

“I'm really hoping to learn a lot … and get really excited for my faith,” she continued. “There's something about AYC that really sets me on fire for Christ. I've got a lot of good resolutions, but I'm praying that going to AYC will help me really commit to being consistent in my prayer/faith life and being more active in my parish and community.”

Johnson said that the teenagers enjoy the chance to talk freely and openly about the challenges they face. Plus they have the opportunity to explore their role in the Church, how they can develop healthy relationships with peers, adults and parents, and they experience the reality of diverse cultures and faith expressions. It’s also a chance for these young people to express issues of faith and how to respond to Church teachings, questions about faith, a love of church, each other, and an acceptance of diversity, actions for peace and justice in our world and an outward jubilation of joy in living as a Catholic Christian.

Daily Mass is offered during the conference with Cardinal DiNardo presiding at the closing Mass on Sunday morning, and participants have the opportunity to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation and take part in a Eucharistic Adoration.

The goal, said Johnson, is for young people to “have an experience in Christ that sets them on fire and inspires them to go back into their world differently. We want them to know and feel that they’re called to minister and to help people understand that God loves them.”

Major presenters for the weekend include Jackie Francois, Roy Petifils and Doug Tooke.

For more information about AYC, visit

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston serves 1.2 million Catholics in 10 counties.
It is the largest Roman Catholic diocese in Texas and the 12th largest in the United States.

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