CYO Conference - what an experience

I place this in the Family Life forum because CYO deals with teens, and mostly parents hang out here.

This weekend I spent two days at the CYO Conference in Detroit. Saint Michael’s Media had a vendor booth at the event for the first time this year. I am stunned by some of the things I experienced while I was there, and I’m only posting this to ask if this is charisteristic of CYO events, or if this was unique, since this was my first experience.

First - the theme this year was “Be Him to Others”. The opening prayer of the event included a slide show, supposedly to give examples of others who have been “Him to others”. Every example was secular and civil justice in content. Of all the amazing saints and lay people who have lived and died to “Be Him to Others” - not one single Catholic example was given. They were all racial or feminist examples (MLK Jr., Rosa Park, etc. )

Second - there was a Blessed Sacrament Chapel. In the program there was a full agenda of events, to include a period of learning different ways to pray - “praise and worship style”, taize, and another I can’t recall. And at the bottom of the list it was, as an after thought, “don’t forget the blessed sacrament chapel”. At this event, Jesus in His True Presence seemed to be an after thought. Which leads me to my third comment…

Third - during Mass, there were probably close to 2,000 people, mostly teens. During the entire Mass, from what we could see from where we sat, NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON kneeled (we did, however) at ANY point in the Mass. I cried all through Holy Communion.

So - is this sort of thing the norm? Is CYO really just a social justice organization? What are these teens being taught about their Faith? Not about loving Jesus, and all the warm fuzzy stuff about being your average social justice concerned Christian, but what are they actually learning about being a CATHOLIC, and specifically the True Presence of Christ?

I came away from this event extremely bewildered and so very sad.

Yes, I do plan to write a letter to the organization with these and other concerns. But I’m wondering if those of you here who have been involved with CYO can give me a little more insight into this so I can understand what it was that I experienced this weekend. Because I’m not entirely sure.


We have CYO at our parish and I know there would never be anything like you described. It doesn’t surprise me though, as that is what I would expect in the Detroit area and many places around our country. We moved to a solid diocese, so our children won’t encounter that. As far as CYO goes, I think it is only as good as the people running it. That is true for any organization in the church.

And I suppose that you would both conclude that the Pope erred in elevating Adam Maida to the office of Cardinal.


LIke the previous poster, it’s only as good as the people runnig it. I was a part of CYO when I was in high school, granted this was about 10 years ago, but we live in a very orthadox diocese so ours was always run well. As far as not kneeling, were you in a church? Many times with that many people kneeling isn’t always required (although should be encouraged) if you’re in an auditorium something like that. Ours was a little social justice, we did charity work etc. but it wasn’t some sort of agenda driven organization.

So sorry! Our State CYO Conferences are great. To see thousands of teens kneeling in Adoration is the high point of our events. (Jesus is not stuck off in a side Chapel, there is exposition and Adoration for an hour in the main conference facility right before the Sat Evening Vigil Mass.

My only complaints were that they did not provide enough food for hungry teens by way of late evening snackage.

Get involved, sounds like the people running the program need some guidance!

This is more like what I expected to see, so I was shocked by what did occur.

Thanks to most of you for helping add some clarity to this - I’m glad to know that this is not the norm at least.


Ugh, what is CYO.

Catholic Youth Orginization. It has been around for a gazillion years :slight_smile:

Oh, pardon me for being a convert.

Convert here too! My point is that CYO is not some newly sprung up thing (like LifeTeen) - it has been part of the Church for a number of years. The adults and parents expect to a certain level of orthodoxy from long standing groups.

Okay, sorry for being sarcastic. The acryonym fetish on this board just kinda grinds my gears though.

CYO was started in Chicago in about 1930-ish, by Bishop Sheil. Each diocese does it own thing, so it depends who is in charge where.

If you’ve ever heard of the “Golden Gloves” then you’ve heard of CYO.

CYO is not a CA made acronym - it’s what they call themselves.

But I know what you mean - the company I work for has so many we actually have a dictionary of them on our internal website!! :eek:


I’m sorry…but if this isn’t yet another example of losing the forest for the trees I don’t know what is. You witnessed upwardsof ***2000 teens joined together celebrating mass ***in this day and age, given all the other secular, selfish, destructive, empty, vapid things they could have been doing…and instead of giving thanks to God for the inspiration and leadership that drew these young souls to fill their time with something holy and pure, all you could do was cry with despair because they weren’t on their knees??? You gotta be kiddin’ me!!! Time to get a grip and some perspective.

was this “Rainbow”? i didn’t belong to youth group in high school, but a few friends did. they always mentioned going to Rainbow…and it was a weekend thing around this time of year that was held downtown.

Oh trust me - I have PERFECT perspective. :mad:

They can jump up and down, chant their little Jesus chants, and sing songs all they want - just like every other Protestant kid on the block.

But if they are not recognizing that the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE has just come down to be PHYSICALLY present with us, then they might as well just go and sign up with the Joel Olstein camp.

This is a VERY serious distinction. Sure - they could be out doing drugs or having sex, great wonderful fine, they were there at Mass. But if they don’t KNOW and BELIEVE what the sacrafice of the Mass truly is, then what’s the point of being Catholic?


Yes - this was “Rainbow”.


I think you missed the entire point of the weekend then. I think you missed a great opportunity to look around at the church of tomorrow. A chance to be proud of the children attending and to be in awe of the moment.

These youth were celebrating mass and coming together on their free time. And free time for teens is big - according to my teen son. They love to do what they want, when they want - and they selected God. Pure selffish motives at that age for many.

In our diocese, there are some parishes that do not kneel. If that is your standard of measurement for success of the mass, then you have lost your compass on this event.

You mentioned the Blessed Sacrament Chapel as being an after thought. Well, it was mentioned right? And thanks be to God they had one available for the youth. Perhaps the point was to show the youth that there are other ways as well to praise God.

So you know what the 2000 youth really believe? And you were the only one there that understand this is the true presence? :confused:

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