The annual Alaska Catholic Youth Conference (ACYC) will be held at Lumen Christi High School and Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral from June 5 to 8. Organizers hope for an uplifting and challenging event for middle and high school students.
The theme for this year, “He Has Done Great Things,” comes from the Gospel of St. Luke. Separate tracks for younger and older teens aims to provide age-appropriate experiences for all attendees.
According to organizers the conference will “engage teens to look at where the greatness of the Lord has been present in their lives and in the world around them, magnificently pouring his love, grace, and mercy into their lives.”
Presenters include Anchorage Archbishop Paul Etienne along with a lineup of national and local speakers who will tackle dozens of topics related to Catholic faith and life.
As in past years, ACYC will feature members of a religious congregation. This year a priest and a religious brother from the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit based in Los Angeles will be on hand. The Missionaries of the Holy Spirit is a religious congregation of men living in community to “extend the reign of the Holy Spirit to all people.”
Several Alaskan clergy, including Archbishop Etienne, will preside at liturgies and provide opportunities for the sacrament of reconciliation.
Nationally known Catholic singer-songwriter Jesse Manibusan will feature prominently as well as Meg Hunter-Kilmer, a Catholic speaker and apologist who helps youth defend the Catholic faith on various topics. She also speaks about chastity, family life and the love of Christ.
Also at the conference will be Jesus Huerta, the relationship manager at Catholic Relief Services. Huerta speaks on themes of social justice, scripture and spirituality.
The conference kicks off on Monday, June 5, with a Marian eucharistic procession from St. Benedict Church to Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral, where Mass will be celebrated, followed by an opening dinner. Youth will then head back to Lumen Christi High School for an evening concert with Jesse Manibusan.
Most of the daily workshops will take place Tuesday and Wednesday at Lumen Christi High School and St. Benedict Church. On Thursday, attendees will gather at Our Lady of Guadalupe for closing activities and Mass.
The youth will participate in several social justice service projects and Mass will be offered each day by one of the participating bishops. Conference emcee Heather Shaw, of the Juneau Diocese, will welcome youth and host the ACYC Tonight Show, featuring a Q&A session with the bishops of Alaska.
ACYC is a joint effort of the three Alaskan dioceses. Those interested in attending may speak with their parish youth director or visit the Anchorage Archdiocese’s website at archdioceseofanchorage.org.