What is 65 years old, but still young and "positively dangerous?" It's this year's 65th annual Diocesan Youth Convention which takes place March 3-5 at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Buffalo. More than 730 youth and chaperones are scheduled to attend as well as dozens of staff, volunteers, presenters and exhibitors.
At the convention, area youth from throughout the diocese, from grades 9 through 12, will participate in workshops, liturgy, service projects, reconciliation and planning meetings. More than 25 priests will join the group on Friday evening for the sacrament of reconciliation. Bishop Richard J. Malone will celebrate Mass on Sunday afternoon.
This year's theme, "Positively Dangerous," is based on book written for teens that addresses how they can be negatively dangerous or positively dangerous. The book's author, Frank Mercandante, challenges readers to be positively dangerous by living out their faith in a way that will challenge and change the world.
Father Joseph Espaillat, pastor of St. Antony of Padua Parish, Bronx, and spiritual director for the Youth Ministry Department of the Archdiocese of N.Y., will be this year's keynote speaker. Father Espaillat will speak on Friday evening, Saturday throughout the day and Sunday morning. His topics include loving God and loving others. (See schedule below for convention highlights.)
On both Friday and Saturday, youth will engage in a service project to provide shoes for people in Uganda. They will trace and cut out patterns from donated jeans. The shoe "uppers" will be sent to Sole Hope for tailors to sew and piece together and for shoemakers to attach the soles to the uppers.
The Manus Christi Awards will be presented to 14 youth on Sunday (March 5) followed by a closing Mass celebrated by Bishop Malone. The Manus Christi Awards are given to graduating seniors in recognition of their outstanding moral character, commitment to parish ministry and youth ministry, dedicated leadership, academic success and witness to their faith. This year's recipients are: