Published August 18, 2005
Catholics from the Archdiocese of Atlanta and throughout the country are busy in preparation, prayer and planning for the National Catholic Youth Conference, which will be held in Atlanta Oct. 27-30.
Archdiocesan officials and steering committee members for NCYC have been meeting for the past several months to plan for the biennial event, which is expected to draw as many as 20,000 high school teenagers and up to 40 bishops from across the country.
The event, hosted by the Archdiocese of Atlanta and sponsored by the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, provides an experience of prayer, community and empowerment for Catholic teenagers and their adult chaperons and will be held at the Georgia Dome and the World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta. The schedule includes general and concurrent sessions addressing a wide variety of topics including forgiveness, Catholic spirituality and prayer, global issues, sexuality and leadership. Opportunities for liturgy and special activities will be offered, including concerts and exhibits.
Barb Garvin, senior director of children and youth ministry in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, said that the NFCYM has recently confirmed the keynote speakers, who include Tammy Evevard, Bishop Gordon Bennett of Mandeville, Jamaica, and Jesse Manibusan. Steve Angrisano, a nationally known Catholic singer, songwriter and storyteller, will serve as the master of ceremonies.
Evevard, a nationally acclaimed speaker, has been ministering around the country for over 15 years on relationships, women’s issues and God’s love. A past member of NET ministries and REACH Youth Ministries traveling youth teams, she has appeared on both CNN and EWTN and has spoken at several national events.
Well recognized as a dynamic and eclectic musician and speaker, Manibusan is a singer, songwriter, guitarist and teller of humorous tales. Manibusan, a familiar presence at national and international Catholic events, holds a master’s degree in multicultural ministries from the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif.
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory will be a part of the opening welcome and will be the celebrant and homilist for the closing Mass on Sunday, Oct. 30.
Recently Archbishop Gregory sent a letter to pastors, and another to youth ministers in the archdiocese asking for support for NCYC, which is the largest gathering of Catholic high school youth in the country. The archbishop asked youth ministers to put together a delegation of youth from their parishes to attend NCYC and to help recruit adult volunteers and corporate sponsorships.
“The conference will bring many of my fellow bishops to our diocese to participate in this event with their youth,” the archbishop wrote. “I am excited that I will also be there to participate with Archdiocese of Atlanta youth. I look forward to seeing many of them at NCYC, learning and growing in their Catholic faith.”
He encouraged all the youth ministers to get involved to make the event a true representation of Atlanta.
“Your support and involvement will demonstrate to NCYC participants what a wonderful, youth-friendly diocese we have,” he said.
Garvin, too, encourages people of all ages to get involved with the conference.
“This is an event that is for teenagers, but it is so much bigger than just teenagers,” she said. “This is an opportunity for the city to learn about Catholicism on a grand scale.”
In addition to the keynote addresses, there will be nine concurrent sessions, skills workshops, a chapel and national musicians. The thematic park will offer an interactive area of exhibitors, service, games and more.
“I want everyone in the diocese to be excited about this. Our church needs to be praying for all the teens who will be attending and for everyone that will be involved,” Garvin said. “This is an experience to change the attitude toward Catholicism in the city of Atlanta.”
Volunteers are needed for all aspects of NCYC. Volunteers must be at least 21 years of age and will be required to get a background check and attend archdiocesan safe environment training.
For more information about NCYC or to volunteer, visit the archdiocesan youth Web site at www.atlyouth.org, or call the youth ministry office at (770) 993-5272.