Whitney Young High School senior Julia Medina and Lane Tech sophomore Jordan Lam were delegated Ambassador Leaders at this year’s National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC).
Members of the parish of St. Barnabas Roman Catholic Church, Medina and Lam were chosen by officials from the Archdiocese of Chicago to attend the conference at Lucas Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind.
The conference is a biennial three-day experience of prayer, community and empowerment for over 23,000 Catholic teens. “Blessed Broken Given” was the theme of this year’s event, and attendees enjoyed guest speakers, workshops, live music and large sessions, as well as an opening and closing liturgy that included a surprise message direct from Pope Francis.
The pope delivered his message via video on Nov. 22, and he urged NCYC attendees to continue their efforts to help others.
“I send you an affectionate greeting and my prayers at this moment of encounter that you are living. May it be an opportunity to strengthen and deepen your faith and communion,” he said. “May it light your missionary hearts with the courage and strength to live in and with the Lord always as a church sent forth. Today, as in the beginning, we need to go out to meet each person, as it is our mission to do so, especially with those most separated and those who are suffering most.
“We must reach the existential peripheries of our world. You know from your everyday life that many are alone, that many do not know Jesus. Go and take the Lord with you. Go and fill your surroundings, even the digital ones—not of convictions, not to convince others, not to proselytize, but to bear witness to the tenderness and mercy of Jesus.
“I bless you with all my heart. And don’t forget to pray for me.”
Teenagers traveled to the conference with their chaperones from every state in the United States and many countries around the world, and they were part of a community of peers who love Jesus, embrace their Catholic heritage and experience the power of the Holy Spirit.
Medina and Lam prayed for all families in Chicago, St. Barnabas parish, churches of every denomination and all those in need of prayers, families and friends.