November 29, 2019

National Catholic Youth Conference 2019

Archdiocesan youths put their best foot forward at NCYC with saintly socks

Grace Swinefurth, left, Alyssa Struewing and Joan Njoroge show off part of the ensemble that youths from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis were given to sport during the National Catholic Youth Conference. (Photo by John Shaughnessy)

Grace Swinefurth, left, Alyssa Struewing and Joan Njoroge show off part of the ensemble that youths from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis were given to sport during the National Catholic Youth Conference. (Photo by John Shaughnessy)

By John Shaughnessy

Teens from Wisconsin proudly proclaimed their “cheese-head” status with a triangle of cheddar on their heads.

Youths from Maryland donned crab hats while their counterparts from Los Angeles roamed the conference halls wearing halos. And teens from Florida were decked out in hats displaying sharks and dolphins.

It was all part of the distinctive, fun and crazy headgear that’s always on display during the National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis—a three-day celebration of faith that brought together 20,000 youths from across the country on Nov. 21-23.

This year, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis wanted to take local pride to another level—creating a head-to-toe look for the 1,456 youths from central and southern Indiana who participated in the conference.

The most unusual part of the ensemble was a pair of socks that pay tribute to St. Theodora Guérin, the first saint in the history of Indiana. The front part of the sock shows an image of the foundress of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods while the back features the coat of arms of the archdiocese, and the sole shares her motto, “Trust in Providence.”

“It’s a good opportunity to do some catechesis on who St. Theodora is—and help them identify with our archdiocese as the local Church,” said Mary Kate Shanahan, assistant director of youth ministry for the archdiocese.

“We want to let people know she’s part of our archdiocese, part of our story. St. Theodora’s story also fits well with the theme of NCYC—‘Blessed, Broken, Given.’ She’s blessed—she’s a saint. She certainly struggled a lot. And she has given a whole lot to our state and our community through the Sisters of Providence and their outreach.”

The archdiocese’s swag package also included a “trucker” hat in colors of blue and white, with the image of a cow’s head in the middle of “NCYC” and “2019” on the front of the cap. Then there was a grey sweatshirt with the deaneries of the archdiocese outlined on the back. The final part of the package was a collection of stickers with the cow logo that—like the hat—are designed for trading with youths from other states.

“During the conference, they use the trade items as a way for them to engage and meet other people from all over,” Shanahan said. “It’s fun.”

The swag brought rave reviews from youths in the archdiocese’s contingent.

“I’m so excited about the socks,” said Alyssa Struewing, 16, a member of Holy Spirit Parish in Indianapolis. “They’re personalized to the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. It’s just so cool that they’re just for us.”

Joan Njoroge liked everything in the package.

“They’re beautiful and appealing,” said Joan, 18, a member of Holy Angels Parish in Indianapolis. “And I like the label of NCYC. It shows you are part of our religion. It also shows togetherness because we all have them.” †

 

See more coverage from NCYC 2019

Local site Links:

Like this story? Then share it!