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Responding to the “Call”

Rebels prepare for upcoming NCYC

COUNTING+DOWN%3A+As+the+departure+date+for+NCYC+nears%2C+youth+minister+at+St.+Jude+Sean+Hussey+discusses+some+last+minutes+plans+with+a+group+of+students.+NCYC+will+take+place+in+Lucas+Oil+Stadium+this+weekend.
COUNTING DOWN: As the departure date for NCYC nears, youth minister at St. Jude Sean Hussey discusses some last minutes plans with a group of students. NCYC will take place in Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend.

COUNTING DOWN: As the departure date for NCYC nears, youth minister at St. Jude Sean Hussey discusses some last minutes plans with a group of students. NCYC will take place in Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend.

Photo by Grace Murphy

Photo by Grace Murphy

COUNTING DOWN: As the departure date for NCYC nears, youth minister at St. Jude Sean Hussey discusses some last minutes plans with a group of students. NCYC will take place in Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend.

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Imagine, if you can, an NFL stadium full of thousands of teenagers from across the country all wearing strange hats and sitting in reverent silence in front of the exposed Eucharist. This is the experience that 167 Roncalli students are signing up for this weekend.

The National Catholic Youth Conference, or NCYC, brings teenagers from around the country to Indianapolis to listen to keynote speakers, participate in breakout sessions and grow in their faith surrounded by thousands of their peers. The theme of the conference this year is “Called.”

The conference is bringing in some big-name speakers and performers to Lucas Oil Stadium to inspire and entertain the students, including TobyMac, a Christian hip-hop artist, and Matt Maher, a Christian singer and songwriter.

There will also be multiple breakout sessions on various topics for the teens to explore, including one led by Scott Boyle, former campus ministry leader at Roncalli. The breakout sessions will touch on topics such as “Next Steps After High School,”  “Does the Music You Choose Matter to God?” and “When God Wrecks Your Romance,” and St. Jude youth minister Sean Hussey thinks that these breakout sessions will inspire unique discussion and open-heartedness.

“NCYC takes students out of their environment of comfort and allows them to more easily let down their walls,” Hussey said.

Preparation for NCYC has been in the works since the last conference ended two years ago. Senior and member of the Archdiocesan Youth Council Katie Kolis has been trying to encourage teens from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to attend the event held in their hometown.

“We’ve been designing the shirts that everyone from the archdiocese will wear as well as picking out tradables,” Kolis said. “Our main goal has been to get as many people from the archdiocese to go to NCYC as possible, and we’ve been pretty happy with the amount of people signed up.”

Once students return to Roncalli, chaplain Father Dave Marcotte, who will be attending NCYC this year to hear confessions and attend breakout sessions, hopes that the knowledge gained over the three days will permeate into the environment at home.

“I hope students bring back excitement and enthusiasm for their faith because it’s contagious,” Marcotte said. “You can tell when seniors come back from retreat, and I hope NCYC can do that for all students.”

The challenge comes after Lucas Oil empties, the crazy hats are put on a shelf and regular life resumes. Teens need to figure out for themselves how they will take the lessons they learned and the message of Christ and apply it to their lives. That is what will transform NCYC from a break from school into a life-changing encounter with Christ.

“It’s easy to have an experience,”  Hussey said. “It’s harder to have an encounter. And it’s even harder to live it out.”

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