DCYC draws 1,500, focuses on Year of Faith

By Jacqueline Burkepile

Photos by Juan Guarjardo

North Texas Catholic

More than a thousand youth from across the Diocese of Fort Worth united to “open the door of faith” at the 17th annual Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference July 12-14 at the DFW Hyatt Regency Hotel. With more than 1,500 youth and adult leaders present, DCYC invited middle school and high school students to open their hearts to the Lord through singing, dancing, workshops, prayer, and the sacraments.

The event’s theme was entitled “Disciples Inc. Feel the Power!” focusing on the Year of Faith and stemming from Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Letter, Porta Fidei (The Door of Faith). The conference’s main stage consisted of four colorful doors, which also related to a theme taken from Walt Disney’s feature film Monster’s Inc. Blue, pink and purple lights surrounded the stage, creating a fun and lively atmosphere for the youth.

Following pre-conference activities, leaders welcomed participants and began the evening with the Liturgy of the Hours led by members of Holy Family Parish in Fort Worth. Catholic musician and speaker Jesse Manibusan gave the first keynote address entitled “Faith to Open the Door.” A presenter at DCYC since the 1990s, Manibusan said he incorporated the Year of Faith in all of his presentations for the weekend. He stressed that Jesus is everywhere we go and in everything we do, and that we must serve Him in and outside of church.

“Jesus is the gate — that portal — he is in the threshold of where we gather to worship and where we are sent forth to work,” said Manibusan. “Jesus is the gate for every part of our living.”

During his keynote presentation Saturday morning, Father Agustino Torres, CFR, focused on theme-related concepts. He said that Jesus must be “real” in our hearts. He invited youth to reflect on Jesus’ resurrection and on how it changes their lives.

John Querickiol (right), of St. Catherine of Siena Parish, sings praise at the end of Mass at the Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference. Thousands of middle school and high school youth attended DCYC from July 12-14, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency DFW which featured dozens of workshops and included prominent keynote speakers Jesse Manibusan, Fr. Agustino Torres, and Sarah Hart.

John Querickiol (right), of St. Catherine of Siena Parish, sings praise at the end of Mass at the Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference. Thousands of middle school and high school youth attended DCYC from July 12-14, 2013 at the Hyatt Regency DFW which featured dozens of workshops and included prominent keynote speakers Jesse Manibusan, Fr. Agustino Torres, and Sarah Hart. (Photo by Juan Guajardo/NTC)

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Fr. Torres also focused on God’s saving plan. He assured the youth that they were created for a purpose: to fulfill God’s mission in their lives and to draw souls to Jesus. Father Torres explained to the North Texas Catholic that the youth seemed encouraged and enlightened by the message he brought to the conference.

“I’m a poor sinner, but they came up to me and said, ‘I felt like God was speaking to me.’ And he is!” Fr. Torres told the North Texas Catholic, adding that God used him as an instrument. “To see that in their eyes, and to see that God touched them through words put together or through a funny little song that you make up … is amazing.”

After Fr. Torres’ keynote address, middle and high school youth split off to attend morning workshops. Melissa Perez, director of religious education at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Granbury, led a workshop entitled “Forgiving a Friend or a Parent When They Hurt You,” discussing why it is sometimes hard to forgive. Perez defined forgiveness, and then covered the five stages of forgiveness, using personal testimony and explaining how lack of forgiveness damages the soul.

“Through my presentation, I think the youth learned that forgiveness is a choice and is about their relationship with God. It is about keeping the path clear for the Holy Spirit to enter their hearts and shine,” said Perez. “Forgiveness is not saying it is okay that the person hurt you, but it says that the person will no longer have power over you.”

During the weekend, young men considering a vocation to the priesthood were invited to have lunch with diocesan Vocations Director Father Jonathan Wallis and diocesan seminarians. Mark Artiles from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Keller said attending the lunch helped him in his discernment process, adding that every Catholic male should discern the priesthood.

“I like exploring the possibility that maybe God is calling me to the priesthood,” said Artiles. “Maybe that’s what’s in store for my life.”

Catholic musician and speaker Sarah Hart presented a major keynote in the afternoon, discussing the Year of Faith and focusing on Pope Francis’ example to Catholics.

“Pope Francis is really calling us to live Christ, to be Christ, and to make sure that we walk into the world armed with the love of Christ’s service,” said Hart. “My whole message was serving, loving, giving and being people in Christ.”

Seventh-grader Isabella Thies said she enjoyed Jesse Manibusan and Fr. Torres. She also explained how she hopes to live what she learned at the conference. “DCYC helped me with my relationship with God because they make it fun to grow spiritually and get closer in your church,” she said. “I think I’m going to go to adoration more and just spend more time worshipping.”

After telling the North Texas Catholic her opinion of DCYC, Ana Exiga of St. Michael in Bedford encouraged other youth of the Diocese of Fort Worth to attend if they have the opportunity.

“If you’re serious about being a Catholic and serious about strengthening your faith with God, I definitely recommend this,” she said joyfully. “Even if you’re older, come as a chaperone and be young again.”

Diocesan Administrator Monsignor Stephen Berg closed the weekend with Sunday morning Mass. In his homily, he encouraged the youth to be like the Good Samaritan: to help those in need and strive to be more like God in every way.

“The miracle of the heart is that it is open to compassion,” he said. “It’s open to responding as God responds to the poor, the sick, the vulnerable, the beaten, and to those who have no voice.”

More than a thousand youth from across the Diocese of Fort Worth united to “open the door of faith” at the 17th annual Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference July 12-14 at the DFW Hyatt Regency Hotel. With more than 1,500 youth and adult leaders present, DCYC invited middle school and high school students to open their hearts to the Lord through singing, dancing, workshops, prayer, and the sacraments.

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