Column: DYC 2018 a chance for young Church to learn about God's love in times of fear

July 29, 2019 at 12:37 p.m.
Column: DYC 2018 a chance for young Church to learn about God's love in times of fear
Column: DYC 2018 a chance for young Church to learn about God's love in times of fear


By Dan Waddington | Special Contributor

To stand on stage and look out over a crowd of nearly 700 people, teens and their adult leaders – and know they have come together to celebrate and grow in our Catholic faith – was nothing less than inspiring.

It was a beautiful sight, and it made a powerful statement. Based on the energy, openness and enthusiasm of the eighth- to 12th-graders, you could clearly see that the young Church of the Diocese of Trenton is alive and hungry for a deeper relationship with Jesus!

Photo Gallery: DYC 2018 Highlights

The theme of our conference was “Fearless365.” Our hope was that it would serve as an invitation for all to embrace the truth about God’s unconditional love, and help us remember that he is with us and empowering us so we can be fearless in our faith every day. 

Our “Fearless365” journey took us through three topics that built on each other. First, we broke open what it means to be “Fearless in God’s Love” and to know that our God loves us perfectly and unconditionally. Our keynote helped make real our role in embracing that love and understand how to return it, so it can be our strength. 

Next, we explored what it means to be “Fearless in Battle.” We all face different battles in our lives, especially the sin and temptations of the world that try and pull us away from God’s love. Our workshops acknowledged some of these battles and helped our participants look for spiritual and practical tools to help fight them.

Lastly, we took steps to be “Fearless in Jesus Christ.” To know that Jesus lived and died for us … and no matter what we face, he is with us and reaching out – all we have to do is give him permission. I pray our young people left the day knowing that above all, Jesus is the path to God’s love, and we NEVER have to be afraid to turn to him!

It was a blessing to watch our teens fearlessly, and literally, go to Jesus both in Adoration and in the Sacrament of Confession. One of the most powerful moments in the day was when Confession began and so many young people immediately stood and formed lines around the room. It was once again a profound testimony to the faith of our young Church. 

DYC perfectly came to a close in the celebration of Mass as we fearlessly received Jesus in the Eucharist. It was a true celebration filled with joyful singing and a strong sense of community. During the homily, our Bishop shared a powerful witness on how faith helped him to overcome his fear, and it offered many moments of inspiration and encouragement.

One of the most impactful moments was when Bishop reminded us that “to be ‘fearless’ does not mean not to have fears: it means not to let fears overcome you.” He went on to offer many insights on how to remain strong as we face difficulty and challenged us to remember that “God created you and loves you, no matter what; God loves you just as you are, even with the struggles you face.” His message brought our whole day together – you could have heard a pin drop as he spoke.

This day was truly a blessing for me and I hope for all who were involved. I could feel the hand of God influencing each aspect of DYC. I felt his loving presence was so evident in every talk, presentation and conversation. It was an honor to be a part of the team, which with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, made this year’s DYC come to life. I cannot thank enough all those who shared their gifts, talents and faith in any way to help make DYC a success. 

Most of all, I thank the young Church of the Diocese of Trenton for their witness and for being so willing to embrace what it means to be fearless in their faith every day. 

Dan Waddington is the diocesan director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.

 

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By Dan Waddington | Special Contributor

To stand on stage and look out over a crowd of nearly 700 people, teens and their adult leaders – and know they have come together to celebrate and grow in our Catholic faith – was nothing less than inspiring.

It was a beautiful sight, and it made a powerful statement. Based on the energy, openness and enthusiasm of the eighth- to 12th-graders, you could clearly see that the young Church of the Diocese of Trenton is alive and hungry for a deeper relationship with Jesus!

Photo Gallery: DYC 2018 Highlights

The theme of our conference was “Fearless365.” Our hope was that it would serve as an invitation for all to embrace the truth about God’s unconditional love, and help us remember that he is with us and empowering us so we can be fearless in our faith every day. 

Our “Fearless365” journey took us through three topics that built on each other. First, we broke open what it means to be “Fearless in God’s Love” and to know that our God loves us perfectly and unconditionally. Our keynote helped make real our role in embracing that love and understand how to return it, so it can be our strength. 

Next, we explored what it means to be “Fearless in Battle.” We all face different battles in our lives, especially the sin and temptations of the world that try and pull us away from God’s love. Our workshops acknowledged some of these battles and helped our participants look for spiritual and practical tools to help fight them.

Lastly, we took steps to be “Fearless in Jesus Christ.” To know that Jesus lived and died for us … and no matter what we face, he is with us and reaching out – all we have to do is give him permission. I pray our young people left the day knowing that above all, Jesus is the path to God’s love, and we NEVER have to be afraid to turn to him!

It was a blessing to watch our teens fearlessly, and literally, go to Jesus both in Adoration and in the Sacrament of Confession. One of the most powerful moments in the day was when Confession began and so many young people immediately stood and formed lines around the room. It was once again a profound testimony to the faith of our young Church. 

DYC perfectly came to a close in the celebration of Mass as we fearlessly received Jesus in the Eucharist. It was a true celebration filled with joyful singing and a strong sense of community. During the homily, our Bishop shared a powerful witness on how faith helped him to overcome his fear, and it offered many moments of inspiration and encouragement.

One of the most impactful moments was when Bishop reminded us that “to be ‘fearless’ does not mean not to have fears: it means not to let fears overcome you.” He went on to offer many insights on how to remain strong as we face difficulty and challenged us to remember that “God created you and loves you, no matter what; God loves you just as you are, even with the struggles you face.” His message brought our whole day together – you could have heard a pin drop as he spoke.

This day was truly a blessing for me and I hope for all who were involved. I could feel the hand of God influencing each aspect of DYC. I felt his loving presence was so evident in every talk, presentation and conversation. It was an honor to be a part of the team, which with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, made this year’s DYC come to life. I cannot thank enough all those who shared their gifts, talents and faith in any way to help make DYC a success. 

Most of all, I thank the young Church of the Diocese of Trenton for their witness and for being so willing to embrace what it means to be fearless in their faith every day. 

Dan Waddington is the diocesan director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.

 

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