Thousands answer their call to holiness at 2017 National Catholic Youth Conference


The following firsthand account is from one of more than 400 young people and chaperones from the Jefferson City diocese who traveled to Indianapolis Nov. 16-18 for the 2017 National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC):

By Olivia Hennon

Walking into a stadium filled with 25,000 people all there to praise our Lord is an overwhelming and unforgettable experience.

I felt God alive all around me before I even entered Lucas Oil Stadium for NCYC 2017. I felt Him when we were standing outside Thursday night as soon as we arrived in Indianapolis.

Before I left Jefferson City for NCYC, I didn’t quite understand why I wanted to go so badly. I didn’t know how God would be able to touch my life in just four days.

When I arrived outside Lucas Oil Stadium, I knew this was right where I was supposed to be.

I was surrounded by thousands of young people my age. Some of them knew exactly why they were there, and some, like me, were just starting to figure it out.

The theme for the event was “Called.” Hearing this theme, I didn’t quite know what I was in for. I wondered how I would hear this calling that everyone was talking about.

The day that stood out to me the most was Saturday, the theme for which was “Called to Serve.” That was something I knew I could relate to and bring back to Jefferson City.

That day, my group from Immaculate Conception parish in Jefferson City took this theme and showed what it looked like to serve, as our Lord did so many times.

We delivered to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis 60 “Little Boxes of Sunshine” that our group had assembled.

Little Box of Sunshine is a 501(c)(3) charity that I started in 2016. Our mission is to brighten the days of children in hospitals by delivering care packages to them.

To date, we have delivered more than 500 boxes to hospitals in three states.

As I reflected on my day Saturday, I realized that my calling is to be the hands and feet of Christ to my community. I want to show Christ’s love to all those around me.

On our bus ride home, I was talking to a few people from my group about the weekend.

Everyone felt something different, which I found to be interesting and beautiful.

In just four short days, our amazing God had managed to touch all of our lives in a different way.

Miss Hennon, a graduate of Immaculate Conception School in Jefferson City, is a sophomore at Helias Catholic High School.