Archdiocese of Denver hosts national African-American Catholic youth conference

.- More than 200 youth from across the country attended the annual Sankofa Family Summit IX, whose expressed goal is to respond to the educational, psychological and spiritual needs of African American youths and families.

The event, which took place from April 27-30, was hosted by the Archdiocese of Denver and organized by Ambassadors of the Word, a Catholic peer-group ministry program headquartered in Montgomery, Ala. Archbishop Charles Chaput officially welcomed the group to Denver on the Saturday, reported the Denver Catholic Register.

The summit kicked off with a concert at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The conference offered prayer groups, a variety of workshops on youth ministry, spirituality and black family history, Bible study workshops, a spirit walk and Mass with gospel music.

Although the summit is traditionally youth-centered, families were invited this year.

Ambassadors of the Word co-founder Fr. Chester Smith told the Denver Catholic Register that the organization’s primary role is to help instill values, healthy self-esteem and positive behavior patterns in young people.

During a workshop on Scripture study entitled, “Fever for the Flavor of the Word,” Gail Jackson, a youth minister from Washington DC told the group that “It’s hard for young people today with all the peer pressure bombardment from the media, and negative messages…God is calling us to be apart from the world, and to do that we have to arm ourselves with the word.”

One participant, 15-year old Eugene Harper, came all the way from St. Louis. He said that he came away from the conference “able to connect (with God) on a deeper level…because I know the Lord loves me as much as I love him.”

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