Bishops call youth to discipleship, mission, and holiness

WASHINGTON—Bishop Frank Caggiano of the Diocese of Bridgeport, and The National Catholic Youth Conference will take place on November 16-18, 2017.

It will be held at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium and Indiana Convention Center. With over 22,000 projected attendees, NCYC is the largest biennial gathering of Catholic teenagers in the country. The director of meetings and events for the NFCYM and the conference coordinator is Maureen Gross Donovan, a resident of the Diocese of Bridgeport and a member of St. Anthony of Padua parish.

A delegation of 30 young people from the diocese, led by Evan Psencik, Coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Formation, will participate in the conference.

This year’s event titled “CALLED / LLAMADOS” is produced and presented by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, ( and is a powerful and life-changing faith experience facilitated by top national Catholic speakers, performers, musicians, and youth themselves.

The Bishop will introduce Face of Prayer 2.0, ( a social media and web-based campaign that brings together social media, text alerts, videos and the power of prayer. He formally launched the initiative in the diocese earlier this year to encourage young people to learn the power of prayer, and he will be introducing the program nationally at the conference.

Bishop Caggiano, episcopal advisor to National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM) always looks forward to attending NCYC and especially values the opportunity to interact and engage with young people in a variety of ways.

“To hear their personal stories, to listen to their witness of faith, to see them engaged in works of service, and to pray alongside of them is a true blessing—one that I would not miss,” says Caggiano.

He also finds personal renewal in being present at NCYC. “Each time I leave NCYC, I am renewed in my personal faith and grow ever more hopeful for the mission that we must accomplish together.”

This distinctly Catholic three-day conference will include opportunities for spiritual growth, prayer, learning, and service. Attendees will be served with an extensive program of workshops, along with an interactive thematic village called “From Sea to shining Sea,” located in the convention center.

NCYC’s focus is to embody Pope Francis’ message through all its programming and experiences throughout the conference.

Bishop Frank Caggiano, (Diocese of Bridgeport) speaker and episcopal liaison to the conference, describes this message from Pope Francis as “called to live authentic missionary discipleship—to grow in our personal relationship with the Lord and to be ready to go to the peripheries of society and share the good news of God’s love with those whom society has forgotten.”

The thematic village will include a combination of interactive games and activities, including hands-on service projects, with traditional exhibit booths. Participants can make a rosary, throw a football, hear live music, and pick up faith-supporting resources from leading Catholic publishers, all in the same venue.

Prayer experiences include Mass, reconciliation, and Eucharistic adoration.

The conference programming is not only tailored to youth, but also youth ministry leaders, parents, adult chaperones, coaches, scout leaders, and clergy. Each group will have dedicated programming and opportunities for engagement.

The NCYC program will include featured speakers: Chris Stefanick, Sr. Miriam Heidland, SOLT, Roy Petitfils, Brian Greenfield, Emily Wilson, Fr. Joseph Espaillat, and Grammy-winning Christian recording artist TobyMac, among many others throughout the conference.

U.S. bishops have a unique opportunity to engage directly with young people, not only from their diocese, but across the United States. This time is highly valued by youth and the bishops alike, especially as it helps fulfill their mission of accompaniment and formation for building disciples of Christ.

Parents who have attended with their youth have found the experience to be highly inspirational and enriching to their faith. Jessica Fahey from St Patrick’s Parish in Anamosa, Iowa, described it as “delightful and awe-inspiring for her entire family” and Amy Pence of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Cedar Falls, Iowa, said that she “rates it as a high point along with the birth of her two children, with the phenomenal impact it made on each of them.”

Parents can encounter tools to grow in their faith right along with their kids, and deepen their relationships by sharing in the experience. Michael Theisen, NFCYM Director of Ministry Formation, describes it as “a wonderful way for parents to engage in the accompaniment model of discipleship today.”

An NCYC LIVE Broadcast of the event is being planned with unique programming bonus features for those who cannot attend, extending access and reach to a worldwide audience. Sponsorship and advertising opportunities will be made available for this unique live broadcast.

Over $125,000 in scholarships have been made available for the conference to sixty dioceses through the Catholic Youth Foundation. At this point, 1,582 youth have been awarded financial support.

About the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry
The National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM), Inc., a nonprofit organization, ( is a broad, internationally recognized leadership alliance for Catholic youth ministry. Its mission is to “support and strengthen those who accompany young people as they encounter and follow Jesus Christ.”

With the national office located in Washington D.C., the NFCYM’s membership is comprised of 155 affiliated Catholic dioceses in the United States, including U.S. military bases throughout Europe, the National Catholic Committee on Girl Scouts and Camp Fire, and 57 youth-serving organizations known as organizational Members.

In addition to advocacy, research, and support for the field of youth ministry, the NFCYM is the executive producer of the largest single gathering of Catholicyouth in the United States at the biennial National Catholic Youth Conference (, as well as the largest gathering of Catholic youth ministry leaders at the biennial National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry (

About the National Catholic Youth Conference
The National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) is held biennially and gathers more than 22,000 Catholic teens, parish youth ministry coordinators, bishops, pastors, parents, school campus ministers, adult chaperones, coaches, scout leaders, and diocesan leaders. The conference is sponsored by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM) and offers a three-day experience for young people to encounter Christ, experience church, and be empowered for discipleship. NCYC offers opportunities for prayer, service, reconciliation, Eucharist, and recreation.

NCYC began in 1983 as a regional conference, with sessions held on the East and West Coasts. NCYC was merged into a national conference in 1991. The 2017 NCYC takes place November 16-18 in Indianapolis with the theme, “CALLED / LLAMADOS”.

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