Ever since I was a little girl, I have been attending small and large Catholic gatherings and retreats - they have just become a part of my life. Of course, as a teen, I was taken to these events by my parents, and believe me, I was kicking and screaming the whole way there! Now I’m well into my thirties and I find myself searching for these types of large events in order to nourish and sustain me in my Catholic faith. The Archdiocesan Women’s Conference, for example, is one event I cannot wait to attend! I plan to go with my sisters and be inspired by all the amazing speakers and just all the women that will be present there.
Another event I am excited about is the Catholic Youth Encounter (CYE). Not just because I have been planning it for over a year now, but because this event will be awesome for our high schoolers! There is going to be live music from an amazing rock band called ReVive Ministry. I’ve seen them perform many times and they are such a great group of young people—so full of energy and faith. In regards to the speaker this year, we were very intentional about our selection. Our speaker this year was chosen because of the results of our Archdiocesan Survey on Young People, which was done last summer 2017. These results showed us that our young people are suffering from anxiety, depression, stress, and even suicidal thoughts, bullying, and so much more. This speaker has a ton of experience working in Catholic ministry, counseling teens, speaking to adults (he even did a TED Talk), he has a book, and podcasts galore. His name is Roy Petitfils and I know he’s going to inspire our teens in so many ways. I heard him speak a couple of times already, and he’s just great!
So why have this Youth Encounter? I could bet that almost every Catholic diocese in the United States (and across the globe) hosts a youth event for their arch/bishop to gather with the Catholic young people of their arch/diocese. It’s a day dedicated completely to our young people – at the local level. Our teens need to see other teens, just like them, who are in this journey of faith, and who also have doubts, joy, worries, hopes, etc. Numerous studies say these kinds of events are impactful for the faith formation of young people.
The title of this blog is a little misleading, because the Catholic Youth Encounter is not just #MeTime, but a time for our young people to meet other young Catholics and gather as the Church. But on the other hand, it is “Me time” because it is a chance for young people to personally experience a profound moment in their journey of faith and grow in their relationship with Christ.
So in summary, I do love getting manis and pedis every once in a while, and a massage here and there. But the best #MeTime for me, is when I’m spending it with Christ and with other people of faith in a retreat or a conference. I will never forget all the experiences I had attending youth events as a teen and I am thankful to my parents and youth leaders for pushing me to attend. I wish the same for our young people – the opportunity to experience an event like the CYE. And although they may be kicking and screaming on the way there, believe me in the end it will be worth it!
For more information contact:
Archdiocesan Director of Youth & Youth Adults
Office of Education, Evangelization and Catechesis
Tel: 860-242-5573 ext. 2678