By Lynne De La Torre
RIVERSIDE—Over 200 young adults gathered at the University of California, Riverside Feb. 15-18 for the seventh annual University Catholic Conference of California (UCCC) retreat, titled, “Come & See.”
The student-run Catholic Conference is open to all college students and alumni across California. The conference strives to form missionary disciples, witnesses within their communities and campuses.
The event allowed for young adults to have educational discussions and offered liturgical opportunities for growth in the faith and in knowledge of the Catholic Church and its teachings.
Throughout the retreat, Mass was celebrated, Holy Hours were held, along with Confession, and there were four keynote speakers, three Workshop Sessions, filled with Keynote and Workshop Presentations, One Men’s and Women’s session, and Praise and Worship.
On Saturday morning, Father Alwyn Anfone, Parochial Vicar at St. Andrew’s Catholic Newman Center, Riverside, gave the opening remarks, welcoming the young adults gathered at UC Riverside for the Conference.
As the leaders of the UCCC Catholic Conference shared lunch together on Sunday, a young adult made a sobering observation. “I just can’t believe how many people were lined up for Confession, ” said 21-year-old Fernanda Arechiga, looking down reflectively.
Without question, the young adults were humbled and inspired by the time that was given to them by the Bishops of our Diocese. Auxiliary Bishop Emertius Rutilio del Riego joined them for Mass Saturday Morning.
“It’s not the question of learning a lot, it’s a question of getting to know Him, it’s about establishing a personal relationship with Him,” Bishop del Riego said in his homily.
Bishop Gerald Barnes joined the young adults for Sunday Mass where he asked the students to hold fast to Christ in their journey.
“Young Adults have so much to offer the church,” he said, “so much to give the world, but you must find your loyalty, your trust, your direction in God.”
On Saturday afternoon, the Catholic young adults were invited to ask questions to the panel guests, Paul J. Kim, Timmerie Millington, Sister Joann Strouse, S.H.S., and Brother John Winkowtisch of the Norbertine Fathers of St. Michael’s Abbey. The young adults asked questions about dating, chastity, interreligious dialogue, pro-life, ministering to the LGBT community, vocations, and resources to grow in faith.
Father Rafael Partida, Episcopal Vicar for the Riverside Pastoral Region and Pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Moreno Valley, gave the afternoon keynote address on Feb. 17.
Lynn De La Torre is the Digital Media Specialist for the Diocese of San Bernardino.