nothing is going to get better. It's not." ~ Dr. Seuss
Last week I was graced with the opportunity to travel north to Anchorage, Alaska to be a part of ACYC 2010 - the Alaska Catholic Youth Conference! ... and what a great week it was! Catholic youth from all three Diocese of Alaska gathered together for four and a half days under the theme Who? What? Where? Why Catholic?? Thought provoking theme for all of us to ponder ...The enthusiasm and interest of these young people for their Catholic Faith and spiritual life was awesome to be a part of and inspiring for me!
On the front cover of the conference booklet that each participant received were the words: "...we have come to be strengthened in the Christian way of life and to become more determined to devote ourselves to the works of charity..." The teenagers listened, prayed, sang their hearts out, played, gave service and met new friends! I helped to give two workshops with my friend Sr. Bea LaFramboise, a Providence Sister and vocation minister from Seattle. The first workshop was on Prayer. The dozen or so who came were very sincere and the interest in their prayer life was beautiful! We had another good crowd of over 20 that attended the second workshop called Where Am I Going with my Life and How will I get There? in which we tried to introduce the teens to some tools for discernment.
One afternoon every participant was involved in some kind of service out in the community around Anchorage from grounds keeping at local religious sites, to soup kitchens, to the Food Bank of Alaska, to the weeding of invasive plants on BLM land to singing for the elderly... No job was too big or too small ...we were ALL out there making a difference, putting our faith into action, modeling the Catholic Social Teachings and trying to make our small corner of the world a better place ~ Dr. Seus AND St. Francis both have words to affirm our actions that day!
An added delight for me was the chance to connect with a Sister in my Franciscan Congregation, Sr. Kathy Radich, OSF who has ministered in St. Marys, Alaska for many years. Sr. Kathy was invited to be one of the main speakers and gave a wonderful talk on building and living Christian Community.
The whole week was great! I saw some beautiful scenery ... but no moose :(
I guess that just means I need to go back someday!
...From Thomas of Celano on, The Life of Saint Francis:
"Yes, the noble building of charity rises upon the foundation of perseverance; and in it living stones, gathered from every part of the world, have been built into a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. What a great flame of charity burned in the new disciples of Christ! What great love of devout company flourished in them!" (1C 38)