Ignition Convention 2003: Catholic Young Men Forging Culture
Christ, prayer, formation, apostolate, sports, friendship and fun ... all a part of a four-day convention.
On January 2-6, 2003, the second annual Ignition Young Men´s
Convention was held at the Oaklawn Conference Center. More than
fifty Catholic young men from around the country braved the
cold weather to come together with a single purpose: to
dedicate themselves to the task of forging a more Christian
culture in today´s society by living it courageously and challenging
others to do the same.
|Strategizing for the Kingdom.|
These young men traveled from every
corner of the nation - Los Angeles, San Jose, Dallas,
Atlanta, New York, Washington, DC, and everywhere in between -
in order to have the opportunity to meet other young
men dedicated to living their faith and to create an
environment of camaraderie and unity.
Speakers such as Father Alfonso Aguilar,
LC, emphasized that in order to forge a more Christian
culture, it is necessary to be well aware of the
contemporary culture that surrounds us. Christ tells his apostles, "I
am sending you out like sheep among wolves; so be
cunning as snakes and yet innocent as doves" (Mt 10:16).
So in keeping with this message, the convention had a
particular focus on the threats and challenges that the Church
faces in today´s world. The participants attended a five-part lecture
entitled "The Enemies of the Church," delivered by Father Aguilar,
who teaches philosophy at Our Lady of Thornwood Training and
Education Center in Thornwood, NY.
Keeping on this same theme, there
were also presentations that featured a number of programs organized
by young men around the country. These programs were concrete
examples of young men who were putting their Catholic faith
in action and spreading their faith to countless others in
their communities. Some of the programs featured were Youth for
the Third Millennium, a group devoted to spreading the Catholic
faith through missionary work at home and abroad, and the
Leadership Training Program, a mentoring program in which young Catholic
men help those younger than them to grow in the
The convention maintained a strongly spiritual focus by beginning and
ending each day with prayer and meditation, attending daily Mass,
making confession readily available, and by organizing a Holy Hour
of Adoration. Participants were also invited to attend a half-day
retreat to kick-off the convention. The focus on prayer and
the sacraments was emphasized as a crucial foundation of one´s
spiritual life and a necessary element of apostolic action.
of course, plenty of time for sports and recreation. A
triple-header of basketball, football, and soccer provided some full-contact bonding,
and a ski-trip to a nearby resort provided a break
from the flurry of apostolic activity at the convention.
order to apply apostolic ideas to concrete action, the convention
split up into regional groups for a session of intense
strategy meetings, in which each group made a plan for
putting their Catholic faith into action in each of their
The 2003 Ignition Convention was a big step forward
for many Catholic young men who are out in the
world and trying to make a difference. The four-day convention
was a unique opportunity to meet other young men who
are trying to live their Catholic faith to the fullest
degree, a forum to exchange ideas on how to battle
the enemies of the Church, and a way for more
than fifty young men to strengthen their resolve to forge
a more Catholic culture in the new millennium.