More than 200 youth gather at annual convention to pray, learn

The Register

Salina — Dressed as the proprietor of The Upper Room, Doug Brummel took the stage April 7 at the annual CYO Convention to enjoin the youth that they were made for more.  A lone violin played as he began his monologue. Brummel narrated the events of Holy Thursday as the manager of the Upper Room, where Jesus dined with his disciples, might have seen it.  “Jesus spoke to them as friends. It’s like Jesus knew each of those apostles were made for more than just being a fisherman or a tax collector or other occupations,” he said, referring to the weekend’s theme “Made for More.” “Somehow, Jesus knew more about them than they knew of themselves.”

He addressed more than 225 youth at the annual convention, which was April 7-8 at Sacred Heart Jr./Sr. High School and St. Mary Grade School in Salina.  The narration continued, highlighting the revelation that one of the disciples would betray Christ.  “Jesus gave this man the gift of free will,” Brummel said. “This man was made for more, but would he choose more money or more of God?”  He continued with Jesus’ words: “I remember that night. He said ‘If you want to be a leader, if you want to lead, you must serve.’  “I saw him do something I’ve never seen anyone do before. He got down and washed their feet.”

Brummel, in turn, invited 12 adults to join him on stage, and invited youth to have their feet washed by the adult sponsors.  “To live out your life as a disciple of Jesus, the first step is you must be like Jesus and humble yourself to wash the feet of another,” he said. “To pour water on their feet. You kneel before them and you take new invention called paper towels and you wipe their feet and you pray for that person, that wherever they walk, they will be like Jesus.”

Julien Illo, a senior from St. Agnes Parish in Grainfield, is a member of the Diocesan CYO Council. He said he enjoyed the variety of Brummel’s characters, and how relatable the messages were.  “I thought (the washing of the feet) was a really impactful moment,” Illo said. “He did a good job of showing how Jesus became humble to serve his disciples to show them how to serve others.”


In addition to the keynote speaker, the event consisted of youth highlights and a discussion panel. Seminarian Aaron Dlabal, who is at Conception Seminary College in Conception, Mo., said his first year of studies as a seminarian have been eye-opening.  “Someone said the first lesson of seminary is that seminarians are human,” he said. “At seminary, you live with 70 guys and what you realize is that everyone has a struggle. That surprised me. It was humbling, but it also important to note. When you deal with a person, they are coming from their own place with their own struggles, too.”

Illo said attendees also enjoy Eucharistic Adoration and Reconciliation, as well as the dance and closing Mass.  “Adoration is really cool because we’re able to get a couple hundred kids who are usually in motion and active and restless focused on a solitary figure,” he said.

Sister Barbara Ellen Apaceller, CSJ, who is the Director of Youth Ministry, said the lines were long for Reconciliation.  “We had six priests, and there were long lines,” she said. “One line had 30, another had 40. I got on the phone and called more priests.”  She said two additional priests arrived to assist with the volume of confessions.  Perhaps the biggest surprise to Sister Barbara Ellen was the volume of boys.  “There were more high school guys than girls this year,” she said. “It’s never been like that. We usually have more girls.”

At the closing Mass April 8 at St. Mary, Queen of the Universe Church, Father Kevin Weber said he remembered attending CYO Convention as a youth.  “I recall the days I was sitting in your seats an hearing the speakers Sister Barbara Ellen brought,” he said. “They excited us. Got us charged up. We went home with aspirations of greatness for our parishes. But then we went home and it fizzled out.  “It was a nice memory, but that was about it. It’s meant to be more than that. It’s meant to change us so that we can be on fire with God’s love. Even if it’s just a small ember burning in our hearts, that’s more than a lot of people have.” 

He reflected on the day’s Gospel: John 20, that tells the story of “Doubting Thomas” and of the apostles being filled with the spirit and going forth. He encouraged the youth present to be like the first disciples of the Church.  “So go home from this celebration with the spirit of God’s love,” Father Weber said. “With the breath of the Holy Spirit living in you, changing you, so that you might change others. Because you are made for more than to just coast through life in hope that somebody else will make the changes.”

More photos are online: