The National Catholic Youth Conference is meeting in Kansas City this week. 21,000 American Catholic High School students from as far as Japan (Military Archdiocese) are meeting here to deepen their faith and praise God. They are joined by about 4,000 volunteers and a couple dozen bishops, including Cardinal Daniel DiNardo (Keynote), Kansas City, Kansas Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert Finn (Mass celebrant), Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto (Homilist) and newly named Ft. Wayne-South Bend Bishop Kevin Rhoades.
The Catholic Key produced a welcome paper for all the participants and I was busy today handing those out, so I didn’t get to go to any of the festivities. But the kids were uniformly well-behaved and the priests and nuns who came through were almost all younger than me. Tomorrow, the whole bunch will take part in a Eucharistic Procession throughout downtown Kansas City.
The Holy Father sent a message to Archbishop Naumann for participants in the conference through his Secretary of State. Here it is:
Message from The Vatican
November 18, 2009
The Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann
Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas
The Holy Father was pleased to be informed of the 2009 National Catholic Youth Conference taking place in Kansas City, and he happily sends cordial greetings to Your Excellency, your brother bishops, the young people, the chaperones, and all taking part in this joyful event. As the young people celebrate and reflect upon the theme “Christ Reigns” through song, fellowship and prayer, His Holiness encourages them to have no fear in professing – at home, in their parishes and in their schools – that Jesus is King! The Holy Father invites them to recall that each time they gather for worship, they join the angels and saints in heaven in singing the “Song of the Lamb”: “Great and wonderful are your works, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, O King of the Nations. . .For you alone are holy. All the Nations will come and worship before you” (Rev 15: 3-4). As they process through the streets of Kansas City bearing witness to the love of Jesus present in the Most Holy Eucharist, His Holiness is confident that the young people will find new strength to grow in God’s wisdom and to work for the spread of His Kingdom – some even finding the courage to make the radical choice of following Christ as priests or religious. In trusting all of them to the maternal care of the Blessed Virgin Mary, he affectionately imparts his Apostolic Blessing.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Secretary of State