More than 2,300 teens 'Created Anew' at Archdiocesan Youth Conference

August 7, 2012

HOUSTON — More than 2,300 teenagers, representing 88 parishes and one Catholic high school, listened to Daniel Cardinal DiNardo's message Sunday, July 22, as he celebrated Mass at the Archdiocesan Youth Conference in downtown Houston.

Cardinal DiNardo explained that the youth are people of action. At times, however, that action has to be one of contemplation. 

"Never is a person more active than when they are contemplative," he said. "We can't live without a heart-to-heart with Jesus."

He explained that it is through contemplation that one gets the resources to be active in his or her faith.

"You can be wasting time with Jesus and it is never wasting time," Cardinal DiNardo said.

He also said every young Catholic should learn Psalm 23, which was the Responsorial Psalm of the Mass.

"What a beautiful Psalm," he said.

The Mass was the closing of the 56th annual AYC, themed "Created Anew," held July 20 to 22 at the Hilton-Americas Houston Hotel, 1600 Lamar St. 

Sponsored by the newly renamed Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization, AYC is one of the largest evangelizing events for Catholic teens in the region.

Throughout the weekend young people were challenged to live out their faith and learn from informative presentations by national speakers and musicians. 
Brian Johnson, the Director of the Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization and speaker on Friday night, said he continues to be impressed with the witness young people give during AYC.

"Their exuberance and love of Christ and His Church is truly contagious," he said. "In many ways, my expectations were exceeded not just by the attendance, but mostly by the quality of our presenters and the depth of catechesis within the program."

Johnson said one of the highlights of this year's conference was giving honor to Our Lady of Lavang.

"Each year we will focus on an image of the Blessed Mother as she has appeared in various parts of the world," he said. "In doing so, young ladies from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Houston (Lo Duc) prayed with the entire conference through the flower dance. It was a beautiful cultural expression of honor that many of our teens have never witnessed before."

Some of this year's keynote speakers were Steve Angrisano, Mary Bielski and Mark Hart. Other speakers and leaders throughout the conference were Marlon Barao, Junior High Youth Minister at St. Ignatius Loyola in Spring, and Nery Lucarini, Youth Minister at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Channelview. Teens also had a chance to worship with Father Brendan Cahill, Director of the Secretariat for Clergy Formation and Chaplaincy Services.

Johnson said the foundation for AYC 2013 has already begun. Planning began this past January in securing keynote speakers and continued in March with the archdiocesan youth council selecting the theme. The detailed work begins in August.