The 42nd Annual Diocese of Raleigh Youth Convention was held at Fort Caswell on Oak Island, May 18-20, 2012. The theme was, “Do this in memory of Me,” based on the Gospel of Luke 22:14. Approximately 700 high school students, chaperones and staff representing 43 parishes participated in the event.
Youth Convention is an opportunity for parish youth ministry groups to gather for workshops and fellowship and to elect the youth board for the upcoming year. This year, several honorary guests were in attendance including Fr. Ryan Z. Carnecer, CICM, St. Eugene, Wendell; Fr. Vic Gournas, St. Paul, New Bern; Fr. Joseph G. Vetter, St. Therese, Wrightsville Beach; and Fr. Marcos Leon-Angulo, Sacred Heart, Whiteville. In addition, 13 Sisters from Orders representing eight different regions around the country were paired with groups from each Deanery for the weekend. The 2012 Convention concluded with the celebration of Mass with the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge presiding; Fr. Ryan Carnecer, CICM, concelebrated.
In Bishop Burbidge’s homily, he noted how the theme, “Do this in memory of Me,” is rooted in the Eucharist. “In the Eucharist, we have the pledge of eternal life. Where the Lord has gone, we hope to follow. Do this in memory of me. Do not allow the passing things of this world to consume you and to be your priority,” said Bishop Burbidge. “This life on earth is merely a journey. Keep your priorities in order; keep your eyes fixed on heaven; stay ready and prepared to meet the Lord so that you may enjoy life with Him forever.”
The Bishop concluded, “The Convention is over, it is true. You cannot stay here. The Lord needs you back to your homes, schools and communities to be His witnesses. So go in peace, glorifying the Lord with your life and heeding His words: 'Do this in memory of me.'”
The Bishop’s words resonated with one of the participants, who said, “I learned how my actions affect other people, and I want to let God shine through me when I go back home.”
The keynote speaker, Catholic Rapper Bob “Righteous B” Lesnefsky, energized the youth in attendance. He is a graduate of Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH, and is a successful Christian rapper. Sr. Laura Teresa Downing, IHM, spoke about her journey to her vocation, and Katherine Angulo, Director of Youth Ministry, compared Faith to a Journey and even shared her desire to become a saint.
New to the Convention this year was a service project: making dresses from donated t-shirts and skirts. The students assembled and sewed the dresses together to be donated to the organization Dress a Girl Around the World. Youth at other service stations made memory jars and pocket prayers.
Reflection Stations were also a part of the weekend’s activities. Sisters were assigned parishes and led reflections in different areas of the campus. A group meditation was held at the top of the fort overlooking the entire campus.
Night time activities included a talent show, new Youth Board announcements and Eucharistic Adoration. Students walked through a candlelit tunnel leading into the fort where the Blessed Sacrament was exposed.
“There was a lot of energy here this weekend and that gives me hope,” said Sister Grace Malonzo, D.W., visiting from the Diocese of Richmond. “Religious life is full of peace, goodness and joy, and I think that was expressed here this weekend.”
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Watch Bishop Burbidge's homily
Read Bishop Burbidge's homily