Youth event in midst of Eucharistic Congress draws souls to the Blessed Sacrament
CHARLOTTE — Beginning with a mixer in the Convention Center, more than 100 college students and young adults mingled to live music from local band "Genesis," ate pizza and enjoyed a special visit from Bishop Peter Jugis on Friday night to kick off the 2011 Eucharistic Congress. Nearly half of them proceeded to spend the night taking shifts of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at St. Peter Church on Tryon Street while camping out in the basement.
"Make sure you are a witness to Christ on your college campus," Bishop Jugis urged the young people during his remarks to them.
"Like the cardinal (Cardinal Francis Arinze) said: What we do on Sunday says a lot about the priorities in our life," Bishop Jugis said, reiterating the cardinal's message of keeping Sundays holy during his keynote address at the congress earlier Friday evening.
For Belmont Abbey College junior Caroline McKinney, that message hit home. "The cardinal's talk really inspired me to manage my time better as a student so I may rest on Sundays, not write papers," she said.
Ella Kunu, a junior at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, looked forward to meeting other Catholics her age as well as participating in the nocturnal Adoration. "It was peaceful," she said of her overnight holy hour in which she meditated on the rosary.
She added, "And I stayed up until 4 in the morning and had so much fun!"
UNC-Greensboro sophomore Tim Potkay, who was attending the Eucharistic Congress for the first time after spending five years as a Pentecostal, noted that "something was missing" from his life away from the Church. That "something" was the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Overall, the Friday night young adult event was a success, with organizer Mary Wright, director of Catholic Campus Ministry, commenting that "some students were standing out there [in the lobby] because they couldn't fit!"
— Mary B. Worthington, correspondent