Teens build excitement for NCYC during rally at Kansas City park
By Kevin Kelly
Catholic Key Associate Editor
KANSAS CITY — They were visible for quite some distance.
Kevin Kelly/Key photo
Emily Knipp, Lindsey O’Brien, Kristen Melies and Heather Dobbins, all of Holy Family Parish in Kansas City, dance to the music at a diocesan rally Aug. 23 celebrating the upcoming National Catholic Youth Conference.
Nope, not the 90 miles they drove from Nevada to attend the diocesan youth rally Aug. 23. But the dozen young people and the adults accompanying them from St. Mary Parish who will attend the National Catholic Youth Conference in Kansas City Nov. 19-21 were unmistakable.
“We got them from the local T-shirt shop,” said parish youth minister Darcy Cable, herself sporting the neon yellow-green shirt that looked as if it could glow in the dark.
And like the 200 youth who gathered at Hodge Park in Kansas City, North for the rally, they can’t wait for NCYC to come.
“I like being around people,” said Elizabeth Quitno. She’ll have her chance. The national rally for high school youth is expected to bring more than 20,000 youth from all over the United States.
“I want to learn more about God, and how he is good all the time,” said Melissa Mosbrucker.
“It’s exciting,” said Heather Hagenson. “Getting out and seeing all these people from other parishes, and from all parts of the country.”
The local rally was designed to be an ice-breaker for the youths whose diocese will host the NCYC for the first time since 1997.
“It’s a community-building thing,” said Jon Schaffhausen, director of the diocesan Office of Youth Ministry. “It’s a chance to get groups together and get to know each other.”
For three hours on a perfect August afternoon, the youths sang, danced, mixed and played games.
Heather Neds, youth minister at Holy Family Parish in Kansas City who helped organize the diocesan rally, herself has attended three of the last four biennial NCYCs — 2001 in Indianapolis, 2005 in Atlanta, and 2007 in Columbus, Ohio.
She is just as excited about this one, although she is going this time as an adult leader.
“This is more than just a youth event,” she said of the NCYC. “It’s a pilgrimage.”
Most of the youth from the diocese who will attend this year weren’t even in kindergarten yet when the last NCYC came to Kansas City, and most of them haven’t had the opportunity to attend one before, Neds said.
“For the majority of them, this is their first time,” she said. “NCYC is such a community where they really bond together. We’re hoping to get them out of their comfort zone today.”
Asher Allman is one of the few who attended the NCYC in Columbus.
“We had an absolute blast,” he said. “It’s a good way to get stronger in faith.”
Bethany Stump of St. Gabriel Parish also attended the Columbus NCYC, and was eager to share her experience.
“It was amazing. There were like 20,000 kids,” she said.
“I’m really excited that it’s in Kansas City,” she said. “When they announced that it was coming to Kansas City at the end of the last conference, we were all screaming.
“You can really feel the Holy Spirit there,” she said. “It’s really powerful.”