Special to The Texas Catholic
More than 1,000 participants converged on the Frisco Convention Center Feb. 17-19 for the annual Dallas Catholic Youth Conference. This year’s three-day conference, hosted by the Diocese of Dallas Office of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministries, saw attendance swell by more than 200 as compared to the one held in 2022, which was the first since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Including parents and volunteers, we had more than 2,000 participants at Mass this year,” said Jacob Coffman, associate director of content development for the diocesan office. “We had a very special DCYC as we had both [Bishop Edward J. Burns and Auxiliary Bishop Greg Kelly] able to join us for adoration on Saturday night. They both also joined 10 other priests to hear confessions.”
Coffman said this year’s slate of speakers provided messages on how youth of the diocese can ascend their lives.
“It was about focusing on being in union with Christ,” he explained. “One thousand high school students worshipping the Lord together is an experience you just have to witness.”
Grace Hoang, a conference attendee from St. Ann Catholic Church in Coppell, said her experiences at this year’s DCYC helped to strengthen her faith.
“During this conference, I had an experience of faith that made me believe in the reality who Jesus is and what he is inviting me to know,” said Hoang, adding that she also appreciated that time was set aside for a Diocese of Dallas Synod listening session during the conference.
According to Coffman, it is those experiences that make DCYC a vital part of the diocese’s youth ministry.
“DCYC offers a chance for youth to not only encounter Christ, but also in an environment that shows the universal Church is present here in Dallas,” Coffman explained. “The youth are able to participate in sacraments, worship the Lord, and hear a message that speaks directly to them.”
It is those encounters — not only with Christ, but also with their peers — that make DCYC a special experience for youth, Coffman insisted.
“Every Catholic teen should surround themselves around other teens that practice their faith and DCYC is that place in Dallas,” he said. “Once they leave this conference, their encounter should only feed into their parishes and help that community of teens grow.”