Trevor Pullinger recalls attending his first National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC) in 2013. He was serving as a parish leader at Church of All Saints Parish in Keokuk and accompanying two youths to the conference. He has attended each NCYC since then — 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021 and 2023. “I always felt the young people benefited from the event and it provided a lot to build on with our youth ministry and creating community around the event.”
This year was different because he was leading his first NCYC as director of the diocesan Faith Formation office, taking over the reins from his predecessor, Don Boucher, who retired last year. “Don is someone who made NCYC possible for a young youth minister and DRE (Director of Religious Education) like me. He deserves a lot of credit for the role that he served.”
Leading NCYC is a team effort. The diocesan support crew included diocesan staffers Barb and Robert Butterworth, Sarah Callahan, Colleen Darland, Deacon David Montgomery and Emily Pries and Deacon Dan and Rachel Huber of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport. “The team did an amazing job teaching me and guiding me in making decisions for NCYC 2023,” Pullinger said.
“Barb Butterworth should get special mention as she has been in the background doing a lot of heavy lifting since 2009,” Pullinger added. “This pilgrimage was the last trip she’s doing in that role. I just want to emphasize how much work she puts into making sure the bus transportation, hotel arrangements and ticket purchases go smoothly. Colleen has been training and will be picking up that role for the next NCYC.”
Pullinger said his biggest take-away from this year’s NCYC is “an understanding of how to walk with people through a pilgrimage and the organizational side of things. The thing that affected me the most was seeing all of the parish groups that were extremely involved in reflecting at the end of the day on what they experienced that day using the tools that they had received from our team.”
— Barb Arland-Fye