Up Front and Personal

Enthusiasm Abounds at Youth Conference

by Father Henry Torres 

“Who knew it was this much fun?” This phrase encapsulates the sentiments expressed by the young Church when describing their profound experiences at the National Catholic Youth Conference. 

It is a phrase that brims with unwavering enthusiasm, resonating from the very depths of their souls. 

During this transformative event, they have come to the realization that concealing their true selves is no longer necessary, and the most precious gift they can offer is to open their hearts to encounter God. 

Just imagine the profound impact that occurs when our hearts are touched by the very Creator. 

Consider the depth of one’s experiences when we willingly surrender ourselves to the One who meticulously crafted each and every one of us. 

Since He fashioned our hearts, He alone knows the path to their healing and transformation. 

Consequently, when such surrender and encounters take place, a sense of tranquility, solace, and liberation from the shadows of sin permeates the lives of everyone, but particularly the young Church. 

Sin can no longer hold us captive or blackmail us. Even when we stumble and fall, we are secure in the knowledge that He will be there to lift us up once again. 

I am thankful to God for allowing the youth of my parish, Mary of Nazareth, to witness what the National Catholic Youth Conference provides, which is an invaluable opportunity for the young Church to witness the transformative power of encountering God. 

As a priest and a minister of God’s mercy through the sacrament of reconciliation, it is a humbling experience to witness the young Church breaking free from the shackles of sin and embracing the peace that accompanies their newfound freedom. 

They soon realize that nothing compares to the sheer delight and exhilaration that comes from embracing their authentic selves, unguarded and vulnerable. 

The resounding exclamation of “Who knew it was so much fun?” echoes through the voices of the young Church, who have encountered the wellspring of joy. 

Their encounter ignites a profound longing to pursue holiness and embark on a vocation that leads them ever closer to God.

Father Henry Torres is the pastor of Mary of Nazareth, Fort Greene, and the chaplain of Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School.