Youth summit teaches evangelization, adoration

  • May 8, 2009
{mosimage}In the wake of last year’s International Eucharistic Congress, Quebec City will come alive again May 15-18 with a bilingual youth summit focusing on the Eucharist and evangelization.

Titled “Mission-Era: St. Paul Style,” the youth summit will gather its projected 400 participants, ages 18-35, in the old city once again to offer formation in missionary work through a dozen different workshops. These will be offered by Catholic youth movements, ministries and communities such as Catholic Christian Outreach, Famille Marie-Jeunesse, Net Ministries and Salt + Light Television. The plan is to continue hosting this event annually.

Organizers planned to divide the participants between six parishes that have dwindled in numbers over the years and involve them in a series of missions. Each parish group was to be divided to fulfill three missionary duties: social justice outreach, evangelization on the street and prayer and eucharistic adoration in the churches to support the mission activities.

“This is the heart of our Youth Summit,” said Jerry Grzadka, a head co-ordinator for the event. “Basically, youth are the hope and we are sending youth to these churches to offer hope that youth still want to pray.”

Grzadka said preparations as far back as 2005 had shown a surge in Quebec youth involvement in the church. Thirty young people volunteered to plan and organize this year’s summit along with Grzadka.

Sarah McDonald, 27, one of these volunteers, said they have seen “a great fidelity” among the youth.

“We’ve grown as a diocese,” she said. “And the summit has become an important gathering for the youth.”

Originally from Sudbury, McDonald was first drawn to Quebec City in 2006 to spend a year with the Ursuline Sisters and help prepare the city’s second Youth Summit. The summits were originally intended to prepare the youth for the 2008 Congress. McDonald fell in love with all that Catholic liturgy entails and the year after, found herself boarding with the Augustinian Sisters for another summit. She is now halfway through her first year as a novice with the Augustinian Sisters.

“It’s the Youth Summit’s fault that I’m in Quebec,” she said with a laugh. “I think (the summit) is a continuing chance to gather around the Eucharist and be sent out. We are called to be missionaries because of the Eucharist.”

The summit will also include an ecumenical procession through old Quebec with the Ark of the New Covenant that was used at the Eucharistic Congress. Events will also feature Mass and adoration, a Christian rock concert and presentations with leaders within the Catholic Church.

The youth committee plans to host the summit in other locations in future years to spread the missionary spirit. Next year’s location is to be announced May 18 at the closing events by Cardinal Marc Ouellet.

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