Contagious Catholicism theme at Diocesan Youth Conference

Jim Wogan Diocese of Knoxville, News, Youth Ministry


Diocesan Youth Conference participants make flower pots to be distributed to area nursing homes at this year’s DYC in Jefferson City

The power of the Holy Spirit can be felt many different ways—some not so subtle.

“Don’t underestimate God’s power,” Sister Albertine Paulus, RSM, told youngsters attending the Diocesean Youth Conference at Holy Trinity Catholic Church the weekend of Nov 21-23.

Sister Albertine was part of a 10-person panel speaking about religious life and was asked about hearing the call to serve God.

“He knew I was a little hard headed and His method with me over my life was pretty much the method of the 2×4.”

Her crack about being hit hard by the Holy Spirit brought down the house with laughter.

Contagious Catholicism was the theme of this year’s DYC, which is held in alternate years from the National Youth Conference.

More than 200 high school aged youngsters from across the diocese attended.

“There are some kids who say, ‘hey I am the only Catholic kid in my high school do how do I get to meet other catholic kids, how do I develop my own faith or how do I answer those challenges that are out there?'” said Al Forsythe, Director of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Knoxville.

“So the Diocesan Youth Conference does that. It brings all of our kids together. It celebrates who they are in our church and it gives them that opportunity to learn more about their faith, to feel confident, and know that they’re not alone. They can defend their faith and even answer questions that they may not have been sure about.”

Luis Reynoso, a 16-year old high school student from Unicoi, served as an emcee for this year’s event. He’s a frequent participant in diocesan youth events.

“Sometimes when I tell people I am going to be in Jefferson City this weekend, they’re like, ‘dude you are always there, you are always at retreats. What is so fun about that?’”

“It is really good spreading the word of God,” Luis countered. “It feels really good to know you’re helping other people.”

This year’s conference included performances by Christian acoustic artist Tony Melendez, workshops and service projects, games, panel discussions, and a closing Mass by His Eminence, Cardinal Justin Rigali on Sunday.