As I sit here in an airport restaurant in Indianapolis on Sunday morning, the sun is just starting to rise over the tarmac. I have been here for the National Catholic Collegiate Conference (NC3) and the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) with other members of the Catholic Apostolate Center staff. Today also marks the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe and the closing of the Year of Faith.
Over 23,000 young people from across the country, mostly high school students, have been here since Thursday attending presentations, workshops, concerts, and liturgies of various kinds. Throughout the course of these conferences (which are held simultaneously), I have had the privileged opportunity to interact with hundreds of young people who are, in one way or another, seeking to deepen their faith and grow in communio with their friends both new and old, youth and campus ministers, women and men religious, and parish priests.
What a beautiful way to end this Year of Faith, proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI and concluded by Pope Francis. The faith and witness that these young people show to the Church in the United States and to the world by their presence here at NC3 and NCYC is remarkable. Whether they realize it or not, they are heeding Pope Benedict XVI’s call from Porta fidei to live and experience “an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Savior of the world.”
In his homily this morning in Saint Peter’s Square, Pope Francis spoke of the journey of faith that begins at baptism. He said, “A journey which has as its ultimate end our full encounter with God, and throughout which the Holy Spirit purifies us, lifts us up and sanctifies us, so that we may enter into the happiness for which our hearts long.”
As we conclude this Year of Faith and prepare to enter into the liturgical season of Advent, it is my prayer that I might not forget the joy, enthusiasm, and witness that I have experienced this weekend here in Indianapolis. It is my hope that this Year of Faith may remain alive in our hearts as we journey toward a fuller encounter with God and a renewed spirit of conversion to Christ.
Alex R. Boucher is the Program & Operations Manager for the Catholic Apostolate Center. Follow Alex on Twitter at @AlexBoucher.