“It is an excused absence because it deals with the students’ religion,” said chaperone Keith Campanelli. “Every two years, the national convention is held in a different city for youth from across the nation.”
Campanelli said 21,000 Catholic youth from all over the United States had registered for the conference. From the Diocese of Youngstown, 160 were signed up.
St. Michael Church was one of the bus stops and the youth were joined by others from St. Paul in Salem. One of the youth who had attended the conference two years ago was Canfield High School senior Sophia Pilolli. She said it is a great experience.
“The last time we attended various sessions to learn about the different aspects of Catholic life and how we can help people in general,” Pilolli said. “It was a great experience and I got to meet new people and experience religion in a different way.”
Campanelli said the conference keeps the young people busy. He said they all planned to gather in Lucas Oil Stadium for activities, music, praying and numerous activities. The youth traveled to Indianpolis on Thursday, spent all day Friday and Saturday, then returned home on Sunday with a renewed spirit.
“Hopefully, the kids will return with a closer connection with God,” Campanelli said.
Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Spending the weekend at the 2011 National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis was a local delegation of Catholic youth that included, in front, chaperone Keith Campanelli; in first row: Sophia Pilolli, Michelle Billy, and Kaylee Buchenic; in second row: Elena Billy, Alexa Billy, and Jennifer Love; in third row: Rebekah Santarelli, Kathy Mertens, and Natalie Ricciutti; and in back row: Hannah Mertens, Jacob Thompson, Justin Campanelli, Adam Cunning, Corey Cody, Rollin Bresson, Nick Cresscimanno, and Edmond Pilolli.