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‘Spark’ conference led by Diocese of Wilmington Catholic Youth Ministries has three-day lineup for virtual series


Much has been discussed and written about the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges it has created for young people in academics and athletics.

But what about the celebration of spirituality? What about the development of faith?

One event that always draws a big crowd in the Diocese of Wilmington is the youth pilgrimage organized by Catholic Youth Ministries and led by Bishop Malooly each year.

Like so many other large gatherings, it was canceled this year in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.

That same age group of sixth-through-12th graders will have a different sort of chance next month to reignite their spirituality.

The first “Spark Conference” webinar is scheduled for Nov. 19-21. Organizers are hoping for it to become an annual event. Bishop Malooly is scheduled to address the group on the opening night.

Dan Pin, associate director for Catholic Youth and Young Adult Ministry in the diocese, said plans were under way last year to hold an in-person youth conference this year. By like so many plans in the pandemic environment, changes were necessary.

“With everything going on, it can’t be in-person, so we needed a virtual event to fill that void,” Pin said. “We hope to get the message across to young people and their families.”

The message is scheduled to be shared three consecutive evenings from 7-8:30 p.m.

“We want to boost the faith and let people know we’re all in this together.”

The Zoom webinar setting allows people to connect from wherever they are and enables families to share the connection together with a mix of talks about relationships, how to overcome adversity and faith in the family. And there will be some music, too.

The first night features a presentation about relationships by Sarah Swafford of Emotional Virtues Ministries. Day two includes Adam and Lori Ubowski from the music group “Out of Darkness” and a talk about overcoming adversity. The final session is with Chris Mueller of “Everyday Catholic” and focuses on how to bring faith into the family.

“We’re hoping it’s going to be very engaging and interactive,” Pin said, adding that viewers will be able to ask questions during discussions by way of the virtual chat board.

While the format is “born of necessity,” Pin said the webinar is a chance to “reignite the passion, moving together in Christ.”

“People know how holding on to the light of faith can really carry us through any adversity,” he said.

More information can be found at cdowcym.org. Registration is required and a freewill offering of $10 is suggested. Registration deadline is Nov. 16.

Pin said the hope is for several hundred participants.

“I’ve heard good things,” he said. “People are excited to get the message out.”