Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity -Psalm 133:1
The 32nd National Youth Conference of the Assyrian Church of the East Youth Association of America (ACEYA) took place in the Diocese of California, hosted by the Central Valley Parishes of Mar Zaia Cathedral, Mar Gewargis Parish, and Mar Addai Parish, from 10 July to 15 July 2019.
This youth conference had over 400 attendees from the three dioceses in the United States of America. In particular, this youth conference was blessed with the presence of His Holiness Mar Gewargis III Sliwa, Catholicos-Patriarch. It is noteworthy to mention that His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California and Secretary of the Holy Synod; His Grace Mar Yosip Sargis, Bishop Emeritus; His Grace Mar Aprim Khamis, Bishop of Western USA and His Grace Mar Paulus Benjamin, Bishop of the Eastern USA were also present along with many priests and deacons.
This year’s youth conference’s theme was “Keys to the Kingdom” (c.f. Matthew 13:11) which expounded upon the sacraments of the Holy Church. This youth conference’s lectures included:
-Rev’d Chorbishop Gewargis Toma of Glenview, Illinois on the Holy Mysteries of Priesthood and Absolution;
-Rev’d Chorbishop Gewargis Bet-Rasho and Rev’d Fr Paulus Darmo on the Holy Mysteries of the Eucharist and Holy Leaven;
-Rev’d Fr Genard Lazar of Turlock, California on the Holy Mystery of Baptism;
-Rev’d Dcn Allen Youssefi and Rev’d Dcn Paul Gabriel on Clerical Vestments, Sacred Vessels, and the Holy Altar.
Due to the recent drug crisis throughout world, the National Executive Committee found it fit to host a panel discussion about drugs, mental health, and personal wellbeing during this conference. Panelists included experts in their respective fields of work and a testimony was given by an Assyrian brother who overcame the dark world of addiction.
Throughout the week, the youth engaged in other activities including, but not limited to: a dinner with His Holiness the Catholicos-Patriarch, celebration of the Holy Eucharist, prayer services, a question and answer session, sports games, Assyrian folklore dancing, and an all-day outing in San Francisco.
The National Executive Committee, presided by His Grace Bishop Mar Awa Royel, has announced that the 33rd annual National Youth Conference will take place in Chicago, Illinois.