‘Surrender’ event invites youth to find a new path


JOSE CARDENAS: CRIS JOVEN IS AN ORGANIZATION THAT INVOLVES YOUNG PEOPLE IN EVENTS TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THEIR FAITH IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC DIOCESE IN PHOENIX. THE GROUP HAS THEIR ANNUAL EVENT COMING UP, A YOUTH CONGRESS FOR HISPANIC TEENS. THE THEME THIS YEAR IS "UN NUEVO RUMBO" A NEW PATH. HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT AT CRIS JOVEN'S YOUTH CONGRESS GATHERINGS.

JOSE CARDENAS: JOINING ME TO TALK ABOUT THIS GROUP AND EVENT ARE SETH DRAPER, FORMATION DIRECTOR FOR CRIS JOVEN. AND AMERICA MATA. ASSISTANT BOARD MEMBER FOR CRIS JOVEN. THANK YOU BOTH FOR JOINING US THIS EVENING. SETH, GIVE US A QUICK OVERVIEW OF THE EVENT. IT’S THE 11TH ONE THIS YEAR?

SETH DRAPER: YES, THIS IS OUR 11TH. ITS ANNUALLY. WE DO IT EVERY YEAR. THIS YEAR ITS FALLING ON NOVEMBER 18TH. WE START AT 7:00 A.M. WITH OPENING THE DOORS AND WE’LL BEING GOING UNTIL 6:00 P.M. AT NIGHT. WE HAVE LIVE MUSIC WITH OUR OWN LOCAL BAND COMPRISED OF TEENS FROM THE VALLEY METROPLEX. WE ALSO HAVE A MUSICAL PERFORMER, JAY JULIAN COMING IN FROM CALIFORNIA, AS WELL AS A VARIETY SPEAKERS. WE HAVE A NUN COMING FROM TEXAS, SOME LOCAL PRIESET AND SOME OTHERS YOUTHS THROUGHOUT THE NATION COMING TO SPEAK AND SHARE THEIR STORIES AND ENCOURAGE PEOPLE ALONG THEIR FAITH.

JOSE CARDENAS: AND WE WILL RUN A FEW PICTURES FROM SOME PAST EVENTS WHILE TALKING AS WELL AS THE ITEM WITH THE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS YEAR'S EVENT. YOU HAVE BEEN INVOLVED FOR A LONG TIME?

AMERICA MATA: I HAVE. I ACTUALLY ATTENDED THE VERY FIRST ONE. I WAS VERY LATE BECAUSE I DIDN'T WANT TO GO AND MY MOM PRETTY MUCH FORCED ME AND KICKED ME IN THE DOORS. IT’S BEAUTIFUL SEEING HOW MUCH THIS EVENT HAS GROWN AND HOW MUCH ALL OF THE SERVERS ARE STILL SERVING AND GROWING THEIR SPIRITUALITY.

JOSE CARDENAS: SO WHAT’S THE AGE GROUP THAT’S TARGETED FOR THIS?

AMERICA MATA: IT IS FROM 15-25. IT IS BASICALLY AROUND THE AGE WHERE TEENS ARE PRETTY MUCH FINDING THEIR PURPOSE IN LIFE. WE HELP THEM, YOU KNOW, NOT GET LOST IN THE WORLD, NOT LOSE THEIR VALUES WHILE THEY ARE FIGURING OUT WHAT THEIR PURPOSE IN LIFE IS.

JOSE CARDENAS: SO SETH, MOST OF THE KIDS COME FROM PHOENIX. BUT YOU HAVE SOME FROM CALIFORNIA AND OTHER STATES?

SETH DRAPER: YES, WE HAVE HAD YOUTH TRAVEL FROM CALIFORNIA TO COME BE WITH US. UTAH, NEW MEXICO AND WE’VE EVEN HAD GROUPS FROM MEXICO COME TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS EVENT.

JOSE CARDENAS: ARE THERE SIMILAR EVENTS LIKE THIS IN OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY?

SETH DRAPER: THERE ARE I NOTHER PARTS OF THE COUNRTY BUT NOWHERE IN THE SOUTHWEST, NO WHERE THIS LARGE. WE HAVE HAD HAD GROUPS AS LARGE AS 3,000 YOUTH IN ATTENDANCE AT ONE EVENT. AND FOR THAT REASON WE ARE AT THE PHOENIX CONVENTION CENTER NOW BECAUSE THAT’S ONE OF THE ONLY PLACES THAT CAN HOLD THAT MANY PEOPLE.

JOSE CARDENAS: AS I UNDERSTAND, IT IS ALL ONE SESSION. THERE IS NO BREAKOUTS. EVERYBODY IS THERE IN THE ROOM PARTICIPATING. GIVE US A SENSE FOR THE KINDS OF THINGS THEY WILL BE HEARING AND DOING.

SETH DRAPER: RIGHT, SO WERE GOING TO HAVE THE BANDS THERE THAT ARE GOING TO BE LEADING IN WORSHIP. WE’LL BE DOING PRAYER. WE DO SOMETHING WITH THE HOLY HOUR WHERE WE BRING OUT THE EUCHARIST. WE EXPLAIN THAT SIGNIFICANCE. THERE’S GOING TO BE TALKS THERE ABOUT FINDING YOUR VOCATION, WHETHER THAT IS FINDING SOMEONE THAT YOU LOVE AND WANT TO MARRY AND FORM A FAMILY. DO YOU WANT TO ENTER INTO A RELIGIOUS PRIESTHOOD? WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF YOU JUST WANT TO WORK FOR YOUR PROFESSIONAL AS CATHOLIC? THOSE ARE THE THINGS WE’RE GOING TO BE TALKING ABOUT SO PEOPLE CAN SEE THAT INTERSECTION OF THEIR FAITH WITH LIFE PUTTING IT TO PRAGMATIC TERMS FOR THEM.

JOSE CARDENAS: YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR MOM HAVING TO PUSH YOU THROUGH THE DOORS TO GET YOU IN. WHY DID YOU STAY? WHAT IS IT THAT HAPPENED THAT FIRST TIME AND THAT HAS HAPPENED IN THE YEARS SINCE THAT HAS KEPT YOU INVOLVED?

AMERICA MATA: WELL, THEY WERE DOING LIKE A LITTLE PLAY AND SOMETHING IN THAT PLAY IMPACTED ME A LOT. BUT BECAUSE I WAS VERY PRIDEFUL, I WAS VERY YOUNG, I CALLED MY MOM AND SAID I DON’T LIKE IT, PICK ME UP. SO I LEFT RIGHT AWAY, BUT THAT PLAY REALLY STUCK INTO MY MIND AND I WENT THE NEXT YEAR AND STARTED SERVING IN THE THIRD ONE. I GUESS IT’S JUST MY LOVE FOR CHRIST AND SEEING MANY LIVES CHANGE. TEENS GOING FROM SUICIDAL THOUGHTS TO LOVING LIFE AND SERVING THE LORD AND BRINGING IN OTHER TEENS CLOSER TO CHRIST. THAT IS JUST BEAUTIFUL AND THAT’S SOMETHING THAT ALWAYS BRINGS ME BACK AND KEEPS ME WHERE I AM RIGHT NOW.

JOSE CARDENAS: SO SETH, SOME OF THE KIDS THERE I’M SURE, LIKE AMERICA, THEIR MOTHER’S PUSHED THEM IN, BUT WHAT’S IS THE TYPICAL ROUTE BY WHICH PEOPLE GET INVOLVED?

SETH DRAPER: SO, A LOT OF PEOPLE COME BECAUSE THEY ARE CONNECTED WITH THEIR LOCAL PARISH. SO, A LOT OF PERISHES HAVE A EITHER A HISPANIC PRAYER GROUP OR YOUTH GROUP. THOSE ARE THE ONE’S WE WORK MOST CLOSELY WITH AND DO OUR PROMOTION, HOWEVER WE DO REACH OUT TO ALL PARISHES THAT WE CAN TO SEND OUT THE FLYERS.

JOSE CARDENAS: IN THE EVENT WHILE IT HAS A FOCUS ON THE HISPANICS, IT IS NOT LIMITED TO HISPANICS.

SETH DRAPER: THAT IS CORRECT. OBVIOUSLY, I AM ANGLO NON-HISPANIC. IT’S OPEN TO ANYONE WHO WANTS TO COME. BUT OUR PRIMARY MOTIVATION AND REACH IS FOR THE HISPANIC COMMUNITY BECAUSE THEY HAVE A SPECIFIC UNIQUE STRUGGLE BEING CHILDREN OF IMMIGRANTS THAT INTERSECTION OF THE CULTURE FROM WHERE THEY COME FROM WITH AMERICA AND ITS CULTURE AND HOW THEY PLAYS OUT WITH THEIR FAITH.

JOSE CARDENAS: AND IS THERE A SENSE, CRIS JOVEN, THE CRIS DOESN’T REFER TO CHRIST AS IT REFERS TO CHRIST BUT IS THERE IN FACT A CRISIS WITH THE CHURCH AND GETTING YOUNG PEOPLE TO REMAIN TRUE TO THEIR FAITH? THE FAITH OF THEIR PARENTS.

SETH DRAPER: I THINK WE SEE A CRISIS MORE IN THIS COUNTRY VERSUS OTHER COUNTRIES WHERE WE HEAR A LOT OF STORIES ABOUT PEOPLE FLOCKING TO THEIR FAITH AND FINDING RENEWAL IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. AND THAT’S PART OF WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO HERE. RENEW PEOPLE'S FAITH IN AMERICA. WE FEEL THERE IS SOMEWHAT A CRISIS OF THAT WHERE PEOPLE ARE LOOSING IT. BOTH FOR ITS RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE AND CULTURAL VALUES AND THAT’S WHAT WE MEAN WHEN WE SAY UN NUEVO RUMBO. IS WE ARE LOOKING FOR A NEW PATH FOR THEM TO COME BACK AND FIND THEIR FAITH, THEIR SPIRITUALITY AND FIND CHRIST.

JOSE CARDENAS: SO AMERICA, YOU’VE BEEN INVOLVED FOR A LONG TIME AS WE KNOW. HOW HAS THE EVENT EVOLVED? AND WHAT WAY, IF IT IS, IS IT BETTER NOW THAN WHEN YOU FIRST WENT?

AMERICA MATA: WELL, WHEN I FIRST WENT, THERE WAS STILL THAT SPIRITUALITY AND PRETTY MUCH THE BEGINNING TEACHINGS OF WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW LIKE THE BASICS OF THE FAITH. NOW, I HAVE NOTICED THERE IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN SPIRITUALITY. WE DO A LOT MORE PRAYER, HOLY HOUR WHICH IS SO BEAUTIFUL. WE EXPOSE JESUS IN FRONT OF EVERYONE AND WE DO A VERY INTENSE PRAYER WITH WORSHIP AND MUSIC. THE PRIEST IS THERE. THE PRAYERS EACH TIME GET A LOT MORE INTENSE AND YOU SEE THE TEENS ENGAGING WITH JESUS AND THE PRIEST LEADING THEM INTO THAT PRAYER. SO AS THE YEARS GO BY, YOU SEE IT GROW A LOT MORE AND NUMBERS DON'T REALLY MATTER. IT IS WHO IS A LOT WHO IS STICKING THERE. WHO WANTS TO SERVE. WHO HAS CHANGED THEIR LIFE FOR THE BETTER.

JOSE CARDENAS: AND SETH, ARE PARTS OF THIS DONE IN SPANISH?

SETH DRAPER: YES, IT IS BILINGUAL EVENT. I THINK IN THE BEGINNING IT WAS A LITTLE MORE HEAVY ON THE SPANISH, BUT WE’RE REALLY REACHING OUT TO THE YOUTH WHEREVER THEIR AT. WHAT WE’VE STARTED TO NOTICE IS THAT PEOPLE ARE FEELING MORE 50-5. THEY LIKE ENGLISH AND SPANISH AND THEY FEEL COMFORTABLE IN BOTH. SO OUR SPEAKERS ARE IN BOTH, THE PRAISE AND WORSHIP ARE IN BOTH, AND THE PRAYERS ARE IN BOTH. EVERYTHING IS IN ENLISH AND SPANISH.
JOSE CARDENAS: JOSE CARDENAS: AND THE PEOPLE WHO GO GET TO WEAR A NEAT TEE-SHIRT LIKE THE ONE YOU’VE BEEN WEARING?

SETH DRAPER: RIGHT. SO I’M WEARING ONE THIS IS ACTUALLY FOR THERE CRIS JOVEN BAND. WE WILL BE SELLING THOSE- WE ALSO HAVE OTHER TEE-SHIRTS THAT ARE RELATED TO CRIS JOVEN NUMBER 11. WE’RE ALSO GOIN GOT BE BRINGING BACK SOME OF THE MORE POPULAR SHIRTS FROM PRIOR YEARS THAT PEOPLE REALL LIKED.

JOSE CARDENAS: THERE IS SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY.

SETH DRAPER: EXACTLY.

JOSE CARDENAS: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TELLING US ABOUT THIS AND GOOD LUCK WITH THE EVENT.

SETH DRAPER: THANK YOU.

AMERICA MATA: THANK YOU SO MUCH.

JOSE CARDENAS: IN SEPTEMBER, THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION REPEALED THE OBAMA EXECUTIVE ORDER ON "DACA" DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS. THIS CHANGE COULD AFFECT 28,000 PEOPLE IN ARIZONA. REPORTER TYLER PALEY MET A VALLEY BOXER WHOSE LIFE COULD BE AFFECTED BY THE PRESIDENT'S DECISION.

The 11th annual Cris Jovens event will be held this year in Phoenix, and is scheduled to have both musical acts and motivational speakers.

The event runs all day Nov. 18 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Sponsor message:

In this segment:

Seth Draper: Formation Director, Cris Joven
America Mata: Assistant Board Member, Cris Joven

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