By Elizabeth Lowe
OCEAN CITY – About 75 adults and youths boarded two school busses in Harford County Nov. 16 and traveled to the Eastern Shore for the Baltimore Youth Catholic Conference.
Colleen Sisolak, youth minister of St. John the Evangelist in Hydes, was among those from Harford County area parishes who journeyed to the beach for the retreat, known as BYCC.
In addition to those from St. John, youths and adults from St. Francis de Sales in Abingdon, St. Ignatius in Hickory, St. Mark in Fallston and St. Stephen in Bradshaw also bussed to BYCC. These Harford County area parishes are a part of Harford Area Youth, or H.A.Y., which was formed around 2000, Sisolak said.
“It’s incredible how we as a region have been able to bridge ministries,” said Sisolak, who added that through H.A.Y., parishes team up and provide extra faith experiences for their youths.
Harford Area Youth ministers occasionally pool bus transportation, saving money, and collaborate on events welcoming youths from other parishes, allowing them to meet their peers and share their faith, Sisolak said.
“There are hundreds of young people in the Archdiocese of Baltimore who share their Catholic faith,” Sisolak said. “It’s a great opportunity for ministry to occur.”
Youths from St. Isaac Jogues in Carney traveled to the beach with H.A.Y., even though their parish is in Baltimore County, Sisolak said. Adults and youths from St. Margaret in Bel Air attended BYCC but didn’t travel with H.A.Y.
During the conference, those from H.A.Y. wore red and white tie dye T-shirts, distinguishing their flock from the nearly 450 people at BYCC.
Father Charles M. Wible, pastor of St. Francis de Sales, joined the Harford County delegation for part of the weekend. Wearing his tie dye T-shirt, Father Wible said BYCC gives the youths “an experience of a larger church.”
Katie Stuempfle, a parishioner of Prince of Peace in Edgewood who traveled to BYCC with those from St. Francis de Sales, attended the conference for the second time.
“It’s a great place to be,” Stuempfle said. “It makes you remember why you’re Catholic.”
Copyright (c) Nov. 20, 2012 CatholicReview.org