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Featured Article: A Different Kind of Martyrdom - How I learned to stop talking and start listening. - Martyrs go straight to heaven. I first heard this when I was about five and, after quickly thinking it over, I decided to ask God to let me die as a witness to the truth. It seemed to me the surest, fastest way to be with Jesus forever. Trekking through the jungle, sharing the good news with a lost tribe, being quickly put to death-it couldn’t be all that bad, right? Read Full Story

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Black Catholic Young Adults

The National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) 2013
Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Get Our Youth To the Table!!

From November 21st through November 23rd, the young Catholic church of the United States will gather in Indianapolis, Indiana to play, pray, and praise as only they know how at the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC). NCYC gathers over 23,000 people from various walks of life and backgrounds to come together as one church. More information can be found at the NCYC website (www.ncyc.info). This website contains all kinds of information about the upcoming conference including videos, fund raisers, as well as various other ways to get the word out about the conference. NCYC is promoted in various ways to our youth ministry community:

Article Index
Empty Shell Marriages
Sociology textbooks define Empty Shell Marriages as: A marriage in name only, where a couple continues to live under the same roof but as separate individuals. Click for full story
Must See Sermon
In this Young Adult Service, the Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, a Baptist minister from Alexandria, Virginia, challenges the young and young at heart to explore their trust in God by showing how God reveals himself. Click for full story
Sunday Prayer for Teens 2014-2015
Sunday Prayer for Teens provides a great way to support a teenager’s prayer life throughout the year in a cost-effective manner. Click for full story
Dying to Self
What does it look like to be crucified with Christ? What does it mean that “I no longer live?” How do I deny myself? Click for full story
Shining her Light: Proud Young Women, Black & Yes, Catholic!
In honor of Black Catholic History Month, 13 year old Vanessa was asked by her churches BCHM Committee to share with her Parish what it means to her to be Black and Catholic. Click for full story
Vocation, a Journey to Conversion
A reflection written by Fr. Davis when he was a deacon. He was ordained to the priesthood June 2013 in New York. Click link for full story
Online Resources for Teens: lifeteen.com
Check out the these resources for teens concerning alcohol, sex, living a pure life and more Click link for full story
Examination of Conscience
Every day we must examine our reflections and take account for the mark we have left on the world. Click link for full story
The Time has Come
On June 1, 2013, seven young men of the Josephite Fathers and Brothers religious community were ordained to the priesthood at the National Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC in what was both a festive and holy occasion. Click link for full story
The National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) 2013
From November 21st through November 23rd, the young Catholic church of the United States will gather in Indianapolis, Indiana to play, pray, and praise as only they know how at the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC). Click link for full story
The Road to Youth Ministry: Discerning God’s Call
Ministry discernment begins with a call received at baptism. This call comes from God to every baptized Christian. Some folks would like to think that God dialed the wrong number and couldn’t possibly be calling them. They are wrong. God calls all of us to mission and ministry. Click link for full story
Is Waiting Worth It?
The boundary for sex is marriage. God instructs us to wait to express our physical sexuality with another human being. He knows the power of it and knows that the best place for it to be expressed is inside of marriage. When sex happens inside of marriage it acts as a bond that keeps two people together, for life. Click link for full story
My Reflections on the National Black Catholic Congress XI
I have attended Congresses in the past as a youth. But now as a young adult, I believe I learned more from the experience. Perhaps now, as I am developing my own relationship with God, I was able to comprehend the various topics discussed in a deeper manner. Click link for full story
Reflections on Keeping Young Adults in the Catholic Church
I see the kids and teens in my own church and while they may not be on fire with their faith yet, I see that spark that will soon ignite and want so much for them to keep that spark ignited. I want them to join their church committees, be a true member. I want them to stay with their faith and profess to the world that yes we are black, we are Catholic and we are just as on fire with our faith as other Christians. Click link for full story
Words from YOUTH that attended the NBCC (National Black Catholic Congress)
Reflections from YOUTH that attended the NBCC (National Black Catholic Congress) with pictures. Click link for full story
The Princess Within: 3 Steps to Realizing Your True Identity
The attack on our feminine souls can be strong and relentless. The war on our identity can seem like a never-ending nightmare. Where can you turn to find relief? Where can you go to find the answers to who you really are? How can you begin to realize that you are beautiful and perfect, a true princess? Click link for full story
The Teen Brain: Still Under Construction
The more we learn, the better we may be able to understand the abilities and vulnerabilities of teens, and the significance of this stage for life-long mental health. Click link for full story

Each (Arch)Diocese is in charge of planning a trip. So please contact your Diocesan youth ministry office to see what the cost is and what scholarship money may be available. Please be aware of deadlines.

This year there will also be a separate conference for young adults (college-age students - 18-25 years old) as well. More information can be found at (http://www.ntlccc.org/)

Why should Black Catholic Youth Attend?

I remember after Congresses X and XI, many of us that were working in youth ministry were excited and wondered, "What's next?" We had hundreds of youth from around the country in Buffalo and Indianapolis. They were excited about their faith. Many of them came from areas that did not have a strong Black Catholic presence, so they were energized to see so many other Black Catholics.

We need to follow up with our young people and youth ministers following these Congresses to provide support and formation. We need to be true "traveling companions with our young church," as Pope John Paul II once said. We all know that if we don't "travel" with them, then they will "travel" with other circles. I always tell anybody working in ministry that our young people deserve the best, and it is up to us to provide various opportunities for them to grow and share their faith.

It is important for us to be "seen and heard" at this national gathering. This year in particular, specific attention has been made to incorporate black forms of worship into the programming. This includes the prayer styles, workshops, images, myself, as the closing keynote, and even an appearance and performance by a surprise contemporary gospel artist that is in the works.

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I have attended NCYC (the youth conference ) and NCCYM (the adult conference) since 2007 and I can tell you there have been improvements in the programming to make it more relevant to our youth, but more still needs to be done, and the committee is open to new ideas and participation. I urge you to consider sending your high school youth and youth ministers to this event. There have been a core group of us from the Black Catholic community that have been working on improving both of these conferences.

But now it is time for us to respond!! I know many of us are tired of brining our high school youth to gatherings that seem to have nothing that we can relate too, but it is our job as youth ministry leaders to "fight the good fight" and to help them realize the rest of the country to realize the gifts that our Black Catholic Community brings to the table. Yes, there will be times where we will be faced with ignorance and opposition, but always remember that the work we do is not about us, but about what God does through us. Never forget what our ancestors and elders had to endure for us to be here, and it is our responsibility to make the future better for those coming after us. I urge you to consider getting as many of our high school youth to NCYC this November in Indianapolis. The more visible we are on a national level, the more we can continue to help shape this, and other, conferences to be more relevant to our youth and adults that attend. Please plan ahead to get as many youth there as possible. Contact your (Arch)Diocesan youth ministry office today!

As many of us are aware, our Black Catholic ministries in general are overlooked due to the increasing numbers of other cultural groups, but we must continue to be a presence at all gatherings so that we are a part of the decisions that are made and also so that we can continue to share our gifts, and to gather resources for our community.

I guarantee you that NCYC will be that "boost" that many of our youth ministers are looking for to get their youth excited about church. All of my youth ministers talk about how their youth come back energized and ready to "give back" to their church. So I would ask that you consider bringing a group of your high school students to NCYC be a part of the national Catholic young church in action. Let's get our high school youth to the table in Indianapolis this November!!

Ansel J. Augustine, MPS presently works as the Associate Director and Coordinator for Black Youth & Young Adult Ministry in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Ansel received his Master's Degree in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University of New Orleans, and his Certificate in Youth Ministry from Xavier University of Louisiana's Institute for Black Catholic Studies. Ansel will be one of the Keynote speakers at NCYC 2013: Signed. Sealed. Delivered. To be held November 21-23, 2013 in Indianapolis. Ansel was also the MC at the National Black Catholic Congress XI in Indianapolis, IN this past summer.

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