COLBERT: Beginning anew at AYC

March 22, 2022

A common sentiment these days is that we can’t go back to pre-pandemic ministry. We need to begin anew.

Pope Francis, in his message for the 36th World Youth Day, confirms this sentiment in regards to the young Church: “…we cannot begin anew without you, dear young people. If our world is to arise, it needs your strength, your enthusiasm, your passion.”

I am truly excited about the upcoming 66th Archdiocesan Youth Conference (AYC), where our youth will be invited to meet this challenge of renewal. From July 29 to 31, we will gather over 1,500 young people to break open the theme of mercy with our dynamic keynote and workshop speakers.

There we will celebrate the gift they are to the Church, listen to their voices and challenge them to live a dynamic Catholic faith.

Our theme of “Everlasting Mercy” comes from the Gospel of St. Luke, where we find Mary proclaiming — The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is His name. His mercy is from age to age to those who fear him.

Danny Ray will share two messages at AYC: Being open to God’s mercy on Friday night, and on Saturday night, he will challenge the young Church to bring God’s mercy to the world.

Throughout his pontificate, Pope Francis continually challenges us to reach out to those on the peripheries. In her keynote address, Sister Josephine Garrett, CSFN, will explore lessons of mercy from those on the peripheries.

Father David Michael Moses, parochial vicar at St. Faustina Catholic Church, will break open the topic of God’s Mercy revealed in the Sacraments.

Alex Gotay, coordinator of youth and young adult evangelization at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, will serve as our emcee for the weekend.

Infused throughout this three-day conference are opportunities for fun, building new relationships, prayer, confession and Liturgy. The conclusion of our time together will be the celebration of the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith. As is tradition, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo will be our celebrant and homilist.

The Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization challenges each of you to encourage the young people you know, graduating eighth graders through graduating seniors, to contact their local parish to join us in this unique and dynamic celebration of our faith. Participants will leave this experience equipped to respond to this challenge of Pope Francis: The Lord, the Church and the Pope trust you and appoint you to bear witness before all those other young people whom you will encounter on today’s “roads to Damascus.”

Never forget that “anyone who has truly experienced God’s saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love. Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus” (Evangelii Gaudium, 120). 

Timothy E. Colbert is the director of the Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization.