By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
Young people live what they learn and learn what they live. That is the message more than 100 people heard Dr. Tyrone Powers deliver at the African American Catholic Convocation held April 1 at the Flaget Center.
Powers, from the Archdiocese of Baltimore, told participants during a high-energy presentation to be an example to the young people in their lives.
“They learn from observation, participation and demonstration. The last way they learn is a whole lot of conversation,” said Powers, who is the director of the Homeland Security and Criminal Justice Institute at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, Md.
Powers also said it’s important for adults to “demonstrate energy,” even when they are tired, because young people are “watching us.”
“Don’t go home always talking about your problems. Say a few things about your blessings,” he said.
Powers noted the “culture of violence” occurring on neighborhood streets and in wars around the world.
“You’ve got to give them concrete examples of how to change that behavior,” he said. “We got to guide them every step of the way.”
God created all of our children to be
winners, Powers said. If they are losing, he said, “that’s probably on us.”
“Nobody comes out of the womb wanting to be a drive-by shooter,” he said. “All that behavior is learned.”
He said that doesn’t mean children can’t go astray. But “we’ve got to train them up the right way in our communities and schools.”
Violence on the streets, Powers said, is not going to be solved by anyone “but us.”
“And God has given us the power to win and the power to do that. And if we are failing, don’t blame God,” he said.
The convocation was a collaborative effort by the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Office of Multicultural Ministry and dioceses in Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and was funded by the Archdiocese of Louisville Catholic Services Appeal.
The day’s theme — “Setting Our Path” — served as a starting point for the young and old alike, said Charmein Weathers, multicultural special projects/communications coordinator in the OMM. Participants attended a number of workshops and small group discussions during the event.
“The point (of the convocation) is to hear and be fed and to think about where we are in the Catholic Church,” Weathers said. “The idea is to create a plan of action and take that back and implement it in our different dioceses.”
The regional convocation also served as a way for parishioners to prepare for the National Black Catholic Congress, which will be held July 6-9 in Orlando. The archdiocese plans to send about three dozen delegates to the national gathering, Weathers said.