September 23, 2022

Pastoral Ministries / Paul Sifuentes

Ignite offers youths chance to encounter Christ in the Eucharist

Paul SifuentesAs a parish youth minister for many years and now as a father of a middle school student, I have often come across youths that struggle to connect with the Eucharist.

Sometimes it is just the “thing” they get at Mass, or something, they believe, really old people care about.

Youths, like many adults, struggle with understanding transubstantiation (when the bread and wine become the body and blood of the Lord during a liturgy) or the fullness of the teaching of the Eucharist. This can often lead to their faith journey feeling empty or make the Catholic faith seem like something that is not meant for them.

This, however, is not where the story ends for many. I have also seen young people come alive when they hear the good news about the Eucharist: how the God of the universe, the God who died and rose for them, has come to meet them in the Eucharist.

I have seen young people who feel isolated or struggle with doubt rejoice at knowing that God loves them and is waiting to be with them, desiring to give his love to them. The Eucharist has great power in helping young people experience the love of Jesus Christ.

Every fall since 2011, youths from our diocese have been invited to gather as the young Church. On odd years, it is as a part of the National Catholic Youth Conference in downtown Indianapolis. During even years, the young Church has gathered as a local community. In 2020, we were not able to gather in person because of COVID-19. Parishes and students instead gathered over YouTube and Zoom to pray and have fellowship virtually.

We are very excited this fall for our youths to come together in person as a local Church on Nov. 20, in an event we call Ignite. This day will bring together teens from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and the Diocese of Lafayette at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis to encounter the Lord and his Church. For more information and to register, visit

This is an opportunity for our young people to gather with the larger Church and have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. From the fun of a 500-person icebreaker to the depth of small group conversation, to the personal impact of silent adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, the day is designed to give young people a personalized approach to encountering the Eucharist.

Attendees will start the day in a large group, but also be divided into different tracks that will allow young people to unpack the beautiful mystery of the Eucharist in small groups while also getting to know youths from other parts of central and southern Indiana and beyond.

The day will end with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the celebration of Mass. The gathering has been designed to engage high school students from a variety of backgrounds and a variety of understandings of the Eucharist. No matter where young people are on their journey of faith, this day is meant for them!

We encourage each of you to invite the young people in your life to be a part of this day. The Eucharist is such an amazing gift that Christ gave his Church, and we want to make sure our youths know of this great gift and experience the love that it bring those who encounter it.

(Paul Sifuentes is the director of youth ministry for the archdiocese.)

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