Teens to represent diocese
National Catholic Youth Congress in Indianapolis will concentrate on vocations
By Joanne Flemming
Three Northeastern Wisconsin teenagers hope to gain insights into their own vocations and what their peers from around the country think about vocations this weekend at the National Catholic Youth Congress in Indianapolis.
Representing the Green Bay Diocese at the congress, Dec. 6-9, are Richard Maes III of St. Agnes Parish, Green Bay; Peggy Grishaber of Sacred Heart Parish, Appleton; and Jenny Trzebiatowski, St. Joseph Parish, Appleton.
Tony Pichler, diocesan consultant for youth ministry, said the three are among 94 teens and adults from the diocese who will attend the National Catholic Youth Conference which is being held a the same time, also at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis.
The 94 represent 18 parishes and schools, he said. Both Xavier High School in Appleton and St. Mary Central High School in the Town of Menasha are sending delegates.
The National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry is sponsoring the event.
The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops is hosting the Youth Congress, where youth, bishops, vocation directors and diocesan youth ministry personnel will discuss vocations.
Pichler said the Congress has defined "vocation" this way: "Through the sacrament of Baptism each person is called to a life of holiness and service. This call or vocation is lived as a single, married, ordained or consecrated person. A vocation is a loving, generous and compassionate response to serve and give testimony to Jesus Christ in the world today."
For the discussions, the delegates will be broken down into small groups of eight teens, a bishop and table facilitators. Dcn. Steve Vandehey and his wife, Peg, of Kaukauna will serve as facilitators.
A press release on the Congress, said the groups "will prayerfully dialogue about their own experience of God's call, what it means for them today and where they feel God's call is leading them in the future."
Maes and Grishaber received scholarships to attend the Congress after their names were drawn during a diocesan youth event last spring. The Girl Scouts are sponsoring Trzebiatowski. Pichler said the National Catholic Committee on Girl Scouts and Campfire are under the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry.
Trzebiatowski sees the Congress as an opportunity to "have a whole bunch of different insights on teens in this time" and "to hear what they have to say about youth in the Catholic Church."
As for vocations, she is considering teaching, but "doesn't necessarily want to be a sister." She thinks she may want to start teaching in a Catholic school system because doing so "could give me an opportunity to be more creative with my teaching. I have always valued learning about church through school."
Maes thinks "youth have a big impact on the world today, not just the world in general, but in the church. Maybe by going to this Congress, I can get ideas from outside our local area and try to help influence my peers and even myself become more active members of the church."
He said he is looking for more input about his future. He said he has varied interests. "I haven't really found a destiny or had a calling of any kind."
Pichler said more than 25,000 youth are expected at the Youth Conference. "Hope at the Crossroads" is the theme.