Teens learn from Catholic leaders, celebrities

Hannah Grover
The image of Bishop Stephen Berg with the Diocese of Pueblo, Colo.,  is shown from a projector as he speaks Saturday at the Farmington Civic Center.

FARMINGTON — Catholic young people from around the Four Corners crowded into the Farmington Civic Center Saturday for the annual Southwest Catholic Youth Conference.

The conference included guest speakers such as actors, musicians and bishops. Catholic organizations also set up booths to provide young people with information about topics such as sex, contraception and peer pressure.

Katelyn Cardenas, the Respect Life Coordinator for Sacred Heart Church in Farmington, attended to provide young people with a pro-life message through a booth set up near the entrance to the civic center.

She said the conference did not exist when she was a teenager, but she is glad the young people have an opportunity to participate in it.

“I always think it’s good for people to get together and meet new people,” she said.

She said the event provides a sense of community. One of the things she likes about the conference is how straightforward the speakers are with the young people.

“This isn’t a feel-good event, although you leave feeling good,” she said.

Actor David Henrie speaks Saturday at the Farmington Civic Center.

One of the highlights of the conference was guest speaker David Henrie, who many crowd members recognized from television shows such as from “Wizards of Waverly Place” and “How I Met Your Mother.” Henrie spoke about the vice of worldliness and showed them a film he directed called “Catch,” which tells the story of a boy trying to get $25 to buy one hour of his father’s time.

In addition to celebrities such as Henrie, local Catholic leaders spoke, as well.

Bishop Stephen Berg of the Diocese of Pueblo, which encompasses southwest Colorado, talked about Pope Francis’ recent visit to America and the importance of people centering their lives around God.

“He came to our country, and the whole world noticed,” Berg said about the pope’s visit.

He said while Pope Francis was in the country, he asked, “Where is your treasure?” This question was a reference to a verse in the Bible where Jesus says to his followers, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Participants in the Southwest Catholic Youth Conference raise their hands Saturday as actor David Henrie speaks at the Farmington  Civic Center.

Berg said that each person’s answer to the question will determine how they live their lives.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.