Durham Youth Attend Latino Convention Click here to enlarge photo or to see other photo(s)

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DURHAM, N.C. — Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, and Mario Gomez, OFM, accompanied 17 Latino teens from Immaculate Conception Parish here to the Diocesan Latino Convention — Encuentro — last month.

Held at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh, the June 21 event brought together 500 young people. Immaculate Conception’s teenagers presented on the moral implications of global climate change and ocean pollution, urging their peers to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle respectful of God’s creation.

They won second prize in the Biblical Marathon, and one student received first prize in a logo design contest. The group also sold T-shirts with a message about the need to care for God’s creation, sending half of the proceeds to Catholic Relief Services.

All Durham teenagers who participated in the convention completed the RESPETO program, a faith-based Latino Youth Leadership Program offered by Immaculate Conception for the past three years.

A benevolence grant from the Province also enabled two Latino youth leaders to receive special training at the Mexican American Cultural Center in Texas, a national Catholic institute for pastoral leadership and language studies.

“We congratulate the youth for their success and encourage them to continue to demonstrate the Franciscan concern for all God’s creation,” said Jacek, who was at Immaculate Conception before moving to St. Camillus in Silver Spring, Md.