The excitement is growing.
Austin DCYC is 50 days away, January 18-22, 2013.
Every year, the numbers grow. Last year the number was nearly 2200 teens. Last year, more than 80 parishes of the 130 parishes in the Diocese of Austin participated.
Ask a teen from your parish that has been to a DCYC (Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference) here in the Austin Diocese in the past few years about it, and you’ll see their faces light up with excitement and anticipation.
Austin DCYC is often a highlight of their year.
Austin DCYC is an opportunity for the teens of the Diocese of Austin to gather together and share their faith, their love for Christ and their struggles as Catholic Christian teens. DCYC offers teens the opportunity to grow in faith through talks by national speakers (this year Mark Hart & Ansel Augustine) and workshops by a variety of presenters (religious and lay people). There’s music (Soundwave), faith experiences (Mass, the Rosary, Reconciliation, Adoration and more) and time with Bishop Vasquez (he says the closing Mass, takes time to hear the confessions of teens and has a dinner for the graduating seniors).
The Office of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry for the Diocese of Austin hosts DCYC, which is the largest gathering that any of the Diocesan offices host. It is one of the longest running of its type in the country, at 55 years and counting. In the past five years, the conference has nearly doubled in size. And in the past ten years, it has grown four times over. When I first started as a youth minister in 2004, I remember taking teens to DCYC’s of 400-500 teens at one of the ballrooms in a local Marriott hotel in Austin. And in less than ten years, in 2012, there’s a concern that DCYC will outgrow the Waco Convention Center that has a capacity of a near 2500.
This year, in the Year of Faith, are you looking for something to help your teen grow into a deeper relationship with Christ? Or are you looking for a way to renew your faith & hope in God and in the present & future of our Catholic Church?
For your teens, contact your parish Youth Minister or Director of Religious Education about signing your teen up to attend DCYC. If your parish doesn’t currently take a group to DCYC, consider offering to help coordinate parents to take a group of teens to DCYC. If you need help with this or have questions, contact the Office of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry (OYYCM). They’ll help you through the process and preparation for the event. Concerned about cost? There are scholarship opportunities available, just be sure to ask.
As an adult, consider helping your parish Youth Ministry by being a chaperone for your parish at DCYC. You’ll need to be sure you have completed your Ethics and Integrity in Ministry certification recently, but I know most parishes are happy to have the additional help. Another option is to consider becoming a volunteer for DCYC. Needs for volunteers cover a spectrum of activities, from hospitality, security, set-up, clean-up and more. Or, if you own a company, consider becoming an event sponsor for DCYC.
This years’ theme for DCYC 55 is is Porta Fidei, the “Door of Faith,” which stems from a Diocesan and world-wide focus on The Year of Faith that Pope Benedict XVI has called all Catholics to participate in. This Year of Faith is a reminder that the Door of Faith is always open to us, that all we have to do is walk through it. That now is a time to revive and renew our relationship with Christ and our enthusiasm for our Catholic faith.
DCYC is often the first door of faith a teen walks through in embracing a deeper relationship with Christ. I can tell you from my personal experience and from talking with the teens I work with; DCYC can, and does change you. It renews you spirit and relationship with God, it helps ground you in your faith, and it reminds you that you’re part of a larger Catholic faith community that makes up the Body of Christ.
One thing stands between you and God. It’s made of wood and its only coat of paint will never crack peel or fade. It’s where you’ll find the key to the encounter that will change your world. And all you have to do is go through it… Porta Fidei.