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.
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.