DYC 2017 ‘Through the narrow gate’By: J.B. Kelly West Plains MO
Youth of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau were challenged to pick the “right way” to “travel” toward eternal salvation during the 24th annual Diocesan Youth Conference March 25-26 in West Plains. Tying-in with the theme “Through the Narrow Gate,” based on Matthew 7:13, presenters at the conference provided the attendees with valuable insights and counsel on how to navigate through the journey of life in ways that lead to true sanctity.
During his homily on Saturday morning, Bishop Edward Rice reflected on the many “ways” or “roads” which one can choose to travel in life, warning against taking the “easy road,” the “whatever road,” and the “‘me’ road,” all of which are the paths of indifference. He said that going down those “roads” never leaves one satisfied, but rather leads to emptiness, to a “dead end.”
“‘Easy’ rarely ends up good,” Bishop Rice said. He urged the youth to instead consider the “adventure” of following Christ on the “narrow road.”
“The ‘narrow road’ is the road of discipleship … the Lord inviting us to renounce self, take up the Cross, and follow in His footsteps,” he said. “The ‘narrow road’ leads to the Cross, the ‘gate’ to the Resurrection. It’s not a dead end!”
Bishop Rice was present for the duration of the conference, celebrating liturgies and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, hearing confessions, and interacting with the youth through the many other activities and events of the conference.
Workshops provided opportunities for youth and adults to learn how to better rely on Christ in making decisions and striking healthy balances between church, family, school, sports, jobs, relationships, and other aspects of life. Attendees were encouraged to turn to the saints for inspiration, to frequent the sacraments, and to look to the Church for guidance to “stay the course.”
More than 400 youth and adults attended this year’s conference, the planning team of which was the youth group at Our Lady of the Lake Parish, Branson, under the leadership of Pat Hutcheson.