Over 300 youth from all over St. Peter’s Diocese gathered in Scottsdale, Arizona for the 2014 Chaldean Youth Convention on July 3-6. It was an opportunity for the young people of the diocese to interact with each other and participate in a weekend full of fun activities and spiritual meditations.
On Thursday evening all the youth arrived at the hotel for registration and then went to Mar Abraham Church for dinner. His Excellency Mar Sarhad Yawsip Jammo was there to greet the youth and give a short prayer and introductory speech welcoming everybody to the convention. After dinner, everybody rushed to the busses and back to the hotel because of a dust storm that happened unexpectedly; something that most people had seen for the first time. It was a nice welcome to Arizona!
On Friday morning everybody gathered at the church for Morning Prayer from the Chaldean Liturgy. After prayer, Mar Sarhad gave a short meditation on the unity that we have together in Christ. After prayer, they had breakfast and returned to the hotel for two speeches given by Eric Porteous, author of LifeTeen, about unity with God and unity with one another through the Church. After lunch, the youth participated in an activity where they were all split up into 30 groups of 10 and each had to perform a song or skit about bringing others to Christ. They got creative and enjoyed the activity very much. After the activity they all went back to the church for Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction by Mar Sarhad, where he gave a meditation asking us all to pray for the two nuns and 3 orphans who were kidnapped in Iraq. The youth spent the rest of the adoration time praying for those who were kidnapped and for peace in Iraq and throughout the world. They then took a group picture and headed to Castles and Coasters where they enjoyed arcade games and roller coasters as youth from different churches joined each other around the park.
On Saturday morning they gathered at the church for morning prayer and breakfast. After that they went to the sports complex where members from the different churches participated in sports tournaments for volleyball, soccer and basketball. The evening ended with an awards ceremony for the sports winners and some traditional Chaldean dancing at the banquet which took place at the hotel.
On Sunday Mar Sarhad celebrated mass at the church, which was served by the seminarians and Workers of the Vineyard sisters. Everybody then had breakfast and said goodbye to all the new friends that they met and departed to their own cities.
I personally thought that the leaders of Mar Abraham Church did an excellent job at hosting the 2014 Chaldean Youth Convention. It was a beautiful event where the youth had a chance to be together and celebrate unity in the diocese. This unity was shown throughout the weekend by the presence of our beloved bishop at every event and listening to his wise words as he encouraged us to be courageous followers of Christ. It was truly an amazing weekend and one that I will never forget. I can’t wait for the 2016 Chaldean Youth Convention!