By Jill Kruse
Witness Editorial Assistant
DUBUQUE — Since not everyone in the archdiocese who would like to attend NCYC will be able to do so, some area parishes are offering viewing parties — known as NCYC Live — where all will be welcome to come and view the live web stream of events in Indianapolis.
Several Dubuque parishes have joined forces to offer a viewing party each of the three nights of NCYC, to be held at St. Joseph the Worker Church. On the second evening of the conference, those at the watch party in Dubuque will take part in eucharistic adoration in solidarity with those in Indianapolis who will be participating in adoration at the same time.
“This is a good opportunity to be part of NCYC, but in a different way,” said Kris Egan, the director of youth ministry at the city’s Holy Spirit Parish. “It is just as important to reach out to those who — for whatever reason — aren’t able to be in Indianapolis.”
Egan added with a laugh, “They’re having a three-day celebration there. Why should we miss out on all the fun?”
The Catholic parishes in Waterloo are hosting a viewing party of their own on the opening night of the conference at their downtown outreach center, COR at 220 E. Fourth St.
Epiphany Parish in Mason City (St. Joseph’s parish center) will be holding a viewing party on Thursday, Nov. 16, from 6:45-9 p.m., and on Friday night, Nov. 17, live streaming will occur at St. Patrick Parish, Clear Lake, during the same time frame.
Other parishes around the archdiocese are also having viewing parties, including St. Patrick Parish in Waukon, where Mandy O’Neill, the parish’s youth ministry coordinator, hopes the parties over the three nights of the conference will foster a better understanding of NCYC and why the parish sends students there.
“Many parishioners are still unsure what NCYC really is all about, and I am excited to have this opportunity for them to come to the church hall and see what we have been talking about for the last year and a half,” she said.
The clustered parishes of St. Mark, Iowa Falls, and St. Mary, Eldora, will hold viewing parties on the second and third nights of the conference at each of the parish halls.
Brenda Koppes, the director of youth ministry at the two parishes, said when the churches held viewing parties for NCYC in 2015 it gave parishioners the opportunity to be part of the experience that she and her students were having in Indianapolis, and that led to greater conversations between parishioners and those students when they returned home, helping to bridge the generation gap in the parishes.
Koppes said she hopes the viewing parties planned for this year will benefit the parishes in another way: helping more young people become fired up about their faith.
“In our area, Catholics are very much the minority,” she said, and “for them to see there are so many other young Catholics that are excited about their faith, I hope it will give them courage to keep growing in their Catholic identity.”
Anyone in the archdiocese unable to attend a local viewing party can also watch live streaming of NCYC from their own home by going to the national event website: www.ncyc.info.
Jacob Petersen poses with Pope Francis after being decorated with items from a past NCYC by some of his friends who will be attending NCYC this year. This activity was a part of St. Patrick, Clear Lake’s preparatory meetings. The activity was done to build excitement and also to show first time participants an example of what they can expect to see at NCYC and the purpose of trading items. (Contributed photo)