An Overabundance of Truth Bombs at NCCYM!

December 5th – 8th was the National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry… hosted in Tampa! What an incredible weekend, talking about everything from the recent Synod on Young People, research on those who are disaffiliated with the Church,

Ministry is like a Map (Dr. Bob McCarty)

If we’re using the wrong map, we’ll never understand the territory”

God is more present in the chaos than in the bureaucracy”

If we don’t look at the territory (we don’t need to do a new program) then we’ll just be doing maintenance ministry instead of transformative ministry”

“Opposite of boring is not spectacular, the opposite of boring is meaningful!”

Our job is to just cooperate with GRACE.”

“If we don’t build loving, caring, intimate relationships with our children, it doesn’t matter what we teach them or how much we pray for them, they’ll walk way.” – Josh McDowell


The Kerygma (Julianne Stanz)

Kerygma means to be a herald or proclaim (Gospel)

We need to not be so busy, we need to remember our first love.”

When someone has a hemmorage, you don’t draw blood… Now don’t our young people have wounds?!”

“The importance of LISTENING cannot be underestimated, there is an ecclesial need  to listen attentively!”

After her keynote, I got to sit with Julianne Stanz for a special NFCYM podcast recording. We talked about the kerygma, ministerial relationships, and the UNLOCKED theme. I will share the episode once it’s posted!



Synod Panel

with Bishop Frank Caggiano (USCCB / Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport Connecticut), Bishop Nelson J. Perez (USCCB/Diocese of Cleveland), Fr. João Chagas (Diocese of Civita Castellana, Italy), facilitated by Katie Prejean McGrady.

Road to Emmaus was the road to NOWHERE. But Jesus came, journeyed with them and accompanied them! THIS idea on mentoring is to walk with people towards a GOAL!”

“Meeting them where they are… well of course! Where else are we going to meet them?” – Bishop Nelson Perez

We have to learn how not just to listen with the intention of what to say next, we have to learn to LISTEN with grace… and we call each other out on it.”

“Jesus is not a concept, He’s a real person!”

“We make ministry so complicated, taking so long packing for the trip ends up making us late for walking to Emmaus… we are late on meeting Jesus”

Jasmine, a youth minister friend of mine, are always so joyful when we get to see each other!
This was when Sr. Josephine was being introduced… little did I know that her keynote would make me cry. What an incredible woman.

Incarnational Ministry (Katie Prejean McGrady)

“Incarnational Ministry is not a program, it is an authentic desire to be a rooted witness”

“Taking care of young people is not an optional task for the church, but an integral part of her vocation and mission in history.” – Instrumentum Laboris

Amy and I got to have a conversation with Katie after her incredible breakout session

“Good ministry doesn’t happen in an awesome bible study or keynote, it happens when we talk and are present to one another.”

“Young people must be taken seriously. It seems we are surrounded by a culture that on the one hand idolizes youth, trying to prevent its passing, yet on the other excludes many young people from being protagonists.” – Pope Francis

We don’t drag them through the program we walk alongside them to have them meet Jesus Christ.”

The incarnation isn’t something we teach but what we live… We must be tiny like how Jesus becomes tiny.”

“Keep groups small so you and really accompany them in your ratios”


The conference ended with Mass, with our Bishop Gregory Parkes as the presider.

Before Mass, Bishop actually took some time to speak with me, asking me about how the conference was for me. In addition to sharing that our team has been open to the Holy Spirit on what we could be doing differently, I couldn’t help but mention how much we got to take advantage of the open chapel and opportunities for Reconciliation. I am grateful that the woman standing nearby took this photo for me to remember this conversation.

“To prepare the way of Jesus… to make smooth the rough ways (as in Luke 3:5), making smooth by addressing tough questions and going outside our comfort zone. We need to make a straight path by having an active and vibrant prayer life, growing in holiness and keeping our pride in check.” – Bishop Gregory Parkes


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