Keynote speaker tells young
adults to be bold, beautiful and broken
By DAVE MYERS
Southwest Kansas Catholic
“Be bold! Be beautiful!”
These words might have otherwise sounded like a commercial for a beauty product, but when housed in the love for Christ and his teachings, they become an entreaty to change the world.
Dozens of young adults ages 18-39 from across the diocese — some married and with children in tow — attended the third annual SKYAC (Southwest Kansas Young Adult Conference), March 4 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Dodge City.
Begun in 2016, SKYAC was created by Gentry Heimerman, Director of Young Adult Ministry for the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City, in order to bring young adults aged 18-39 “closer into a deeper relationship with Christ, and to connect them with one another.”
Working alongside Heimerman for the past eight months in preparation for the recent SKYAC were Noelle McHugh and Taylor Schinstock.
“The 100-plus young adults who were involved with the event started their day by participating in the regular 9 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral, transitioned into a schedule of great speakers and plenty of time to mingle, and then ended the day by literally ‘following Jesus’ in a Eucharist procession and Adoration,” Heimerman said.
Keynote speaker Father Gale Hammerschmidt is the pastor of St. Isidore Parish in Manhattan, including the St. Isidore student center, which serves the students of Kansas State University.
Are you truly bold enough to transform the environment that you live in? asked Father Hammerschmidt. “If you are not transforming your environment, then you can be sure that your environment is transforming you.”
Other guest speakers included Catholic podcaster Ethan Stueve, Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Veronica Hill, program coordinator for the Diocese of Wichita, and Daniel and Ana Glaze, AKA, “That Catholic Couple” on Youtube.
“We have to be bold,” Father Hammerschmidt told the young adults gathered in the day chapel at the cathedral. “We also have to be beautiful. … I’m talking about a life that’s beautiful, inside and out. A life like Mother Teresa’s. A life that says, I decided to make the world a better place ….”
He urged those gathered not to wait until they feel “perfect in the eyes of God” before they try to transform the world.
“Don’t be afraid to be broken! If we wait to be healed of our brokenness [before we try to transform the world] – if we wait to be perfect in the eyes of God — nothing will ever get started. It’s precisely in that moment that we feel we’re standing close to Christ.
“If you want to find God, serve others. Pray for them.”
The most important message of all, Father Hammerschmidt said, is to begin.
“I encourage you today to start asking questions about how God wants you to change the world!”
Father Hammerschmidt’s talk can be heard in it’s entirety by going to Facebook, and typing in “Father Gale Hammerschmidt”.