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NCYC: The trip of a lifetime


POSTED December 16, 2011 4:20 p.m.

Editors note: Kayla Schartz is a student at Ellinwood High School.



A 14 hour bus ride, strange hats, free hugs, and 23,000 people sounds like a very random combination. However, these odd factors together proved to be important parts of a very moving experience for 21 young people from the St. Joseph, Immaculate Conception, and Holy Family parishes in Ellinwood, Claflin, and Odin respectively. After two years of fundraising and preparation, 21 youth and three chaperones embarked on a religious journey made possible by the monetary and prayerful support of the three parishes.

The National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in Indianapolis, Ind., was the destination. Our group was a part of the 350 youth and adults representing the Diocese of Dodge City at this event. Eight buses departed from the St. Pat’s parking lot in Great Bend at 11 p.m. on Nov. 16. Approximately 14 hours and three stops later, we arrived in Indianapolis and prepared ourselves for this experience to begin.

After unloading the bus and squeezing into the hotel, we kicked off our experience with a Diocesan Mass given by Bishop Brungardt. Hannah Maddy and I were given the privilege of cantoring the mass and we were able to truly get a feeling of what was to come during our time at NCYC.

After mass ended, we loaded the buses and headed to our opening session at Lucas Oil Stadium, which was, of course, very exciting for all of the NFL fans in attendance. The atmosphere was amazing. The people, the was all overwhelming, but at the same time, we knew that it was something we would never forget. Coming from a small town, you never expect to be sitting in an arena with 23,000 other Catholics. It was a dream that was now becoming a reality.

Our group greatly enjoyed NCYC, but if you speak with any of us, we would more than likely agree that our favorite parts of the conference were the closing Mass, certain breakout sessions and speakers, and the atmosphere.

NCYC is a tradition that we hope will carry on. It is a great experience that helps bring our youth closer to God while allowing them to spend time in an atmosphere that is unlike any other. If you run into anyone from our group that attended NCYC, take the time talk to them and you will find that the young Catholic church is alive and well.



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