Hundreds of Catholic young people turned out over the weekend for the annual Youth Convention, this year carrying the theme "Power Up."
The event concluded Sunday with a Mass at the conference site, Buffalo Grand Hotel on the Waterfront. Bishop Richard Malone told the young people and the older Catholics in the crowd that these are difficult times for the Church, but each person must look clear-eyed at the world around them.
"We're in a difficult time right now in the Church around the world and right here in our country and in our diocese because of some tragic things that have happened in the past," said Malone. "The Holy Spirit will lead us through it, but we need to do that together. And so we need the light, the light, that comes only from the Lord to help us see where to go and how to make the necessary changes."
Malone said he has not heard anything officially from the recent worldwide meeting of Catholic bishops about the sex abuse crisis, although he expects more information when American bishops meet in June and can talk about what they will do.
They were exposed to a variety of thoughts and talks about the world around them, from the world of refugees to their future opportunity to be Catholic leaders on college campuses.
Ryleigh Myers was there as a member of the diocesan Youth Board. She is a student at Lewiston-Porter and will go to Canisius College next year. Asked about the role of women in the church, Myers said she sees roles for men and women.
"I love the tradition of having almost, sort of, a male-dominated religion. I think it's very beautiful that we have so many priests and have a bishop and a Pope," Meyers said. "Traditionally, the first Pope was St. Peter and he was male and I think men take the role of being the leaders and the shepherds of the church very seriously, very respectfully, and women take care of the maintenance of the church and the people and I think that's very important."
Daniel Schiffauer is a member of St. Gabriel's Parish in Elma and attends Iroquois High School.
"It's a public school, so it's not as focused on religion," Schiffauer said. "We do have a big Catholic presence, but Christian presence is a lot bigger, too. But although it's public, we do have people of different religions going there, as well as atheists, as well. But overall, I do think it's different than a Catholic school in the questions we get asked, which are not to touch on religion as much either."
Schiffauer attended the event in the uniform of an Irish bagpiper and played the pipes for some participants.