National Eucharistic Congress to Have Special Events for Youth, Families
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
February 1, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS—The Tenth National Eucharistic Congress to be held July 17-21 in downtown Indianapolis will have events for specialized audiences as well as large events to be shared by all.

A second webinar for media presented by Joel Stepanek, vice president of programming and administration for the congress, was held on Jan. 25 to provide additional details about youth and family offerings. General information from an earlier webinar was presented in an article in the Jan. 19
Observer, page 4.

Both webinars noted a special Spanish-language track that will offer sessions and events in Spanish. Information from: https://es.eucharisticcongress.org

Events

Everyone will participate in large general events including Wednesday’s opening ceremony in the Lucas Oil Stadium from 7-10 p.m. That evening will include welcoming the four pilgrimage groups who walked to the event from northern, southern, eastern and western parts of the U.S.

A few more logistics

-- All bags, including diaper bags, will be subject to search at security checkpoints. Participants will go through security as at any major event, Stepanek said.

-- In addition to information given in the earlier webinar (Jan. 19 Observer), Stepanek noted that day pass fee options vary by day. Five-day event discount group prices are available for groups of 2-5 people, 6-10 people and 11-14 or more.

-- Youth groups looking for more affordable options for teens and chaperones can get information about alternate housing solutions such as dorms, parish halls and gyms from congress partners JMJ Youth Pilgrimages — contact them at info@jmjyouth.com or 800-601-7225.

-- Meal packages may be available for those staying at universities. There are plenty of restaurants downtown and there will be alley food trucks, Stepanek said.

-- Downtown Indianapolis was designed for conferences. Downtown hotels are connected by walkways to the Indiana Convention Center. Ninety percent of downtown parking has been reserved for this event, Stepanek said — parking passes can/should be purchased ahead of time. Parking passes in lots for persons with disabilities are available for purchase on a first-come, first-served basis. Individuals parking in designated ADA lots or spaces must have a valid ADA license plate or placard.

-- Most metered street parking (which cannot be reserved) requires payment through the ParkMobile app. Some of those spaces are designated for persons with disabilities.

-- Buses needing to park downtown should purchase parking passes ahead of time.

-- Registrations for the congress can be made though June if there are openings.

Organizers are expecting 45,000 to 55,000 people to attend all five days; some 70-75,000 are expected on any given day, including those with day passes.

The congress website includes additional information, which can be found at: https://www.eucharisticcongress.org

Morning Masses, 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, will be held in English (Lucas Oil Stadium), in Spanish (Indiana Convention Center), and there will be a Mass geared for teens (Indiana Convention Center) each of those days.

On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, morning “impact sessions” will be tailored to various groups, with a larger one for a general audience (Encounter) and smaller venues for ministry leaders (Renewal), for those wanting to become evangelizing missionaries (Empower), and for Spanish-speakers (Encuentro-see above).

Additional impact sessions will be tailored for Youth (Awaken) and for Families (Cultivate).

Youth

The Awaken events are tailored for teens (those entering high school to just-graduated seniors). The teens must participate with a youth group or be accompanied by a parent.

Awaken events include morning sessions designed specifically for teenagers who will join “thousands of young people from across the United States in worshiping Jesus Christ and being empowered as Catholic disciples to become evangelists in their parish, community, and culture,” says the website. Speakers will include Oscar Rivera, Brian Greenfield, and Jackie Francois Angel.

The morning youth conference
experiences will then lead into specialized afternoon breakout sessions
led by youth apostolates: NET Ministries (Thursday), Lifeteen (Saturday), and the Vietnamese Eucharistic
Movement (Friday).

In the webinar, Stepanek recalled a memory he has from age nine, of a song about God ordering one’s life, that still impacts him as a husband and father.

“This is the first Eucharistic Congress in 83 years,” Stepanek noted. “It’s a part of history … part of the bigger whole. We need the youth there; it won’t be complete without them … it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for teens.”

Although Awaken will have a “campout youth retreat feel” to it, he said, teens will see their connectedness with everyone each evening at the large revival sessions. “It’s not just a youth conference,” he concluded.

Families

The Cultivate events for families with children ages newborn to 12, will feature “whole family formation,” Stepanek said in the webinar. It will
take place on the second floor of the Indiana Conference Center, and will include a separate room designed for nursing mothers.

Prayer, worship, and discussion in the mornings will be followed by afternoon breakout sessions run by Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in four atriums for children of various age groups.

Other family activities will include a children’s center at the large all-conference exhibit hall, family-oriented games, an immersive family hour with a variety of activities and a contained space for kids to run around in.

Stepanek also mentioned a “Toddler Patrol” to corral and return any dashing toddlers right back to their parents and a dedicated first aid station for families. He noted, too, that
there will be chances for parents to network with each other, and that families are welcome at any of the other breakout sessions (note: pre-registration for all breakout sessions is required
for everyone).

“This will be a generational moment for families,” Stepanek said.

“Families will see the Church alive and vibrant” with accommodations just for them, Stepanek said.

Special Events:

Saturday Afternoon Eucharistic Procession: This event will be held from 3-5 p.m. and will process through downtown with all participants welcome to walk to publicly profess faith in the Eucharist.

Sunday Mass: the 9 a.m. to noon final gathering in Lucas Oil Stadium will include Mass at 10 a.m. with a papal delegate that will wind up
the congress.

Evenings

Thursday through Saturday, evening revivals will bring teens, families, children and adults all together to enjoy speakers giving talks that will lead to prayer and adoration. Organizers are especially excited to welcome contemporary Christian musician Matt Maher on Saturday.

 

 

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