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My Journey to NCYC as a Grandfather and Deacon

NFCYM staff member Scotty Van Horn recently interviewed Deacon Andy Orosco about his experience attending NCYC in 2022.

In this interview, you will discover how Deacon Andy served both as a deacon and a grandfather, leaving a lasting impact on the community and his family.

About Deacon andy

I am a deacon for the Diocese of San Bernardino. I was ordained in 2014, and I have spent the majority of my years serving the Native American people. I am assigned to the Native American Ministry, which serves the six mission churches located on six of the 13 Indian reservations in the diocese.

Could you give us a brief overview of your journey as a deacon?

I never said I wanted to be a deacon. It was the furthest thing from my mind, but that’s often who God calls to be leaders—those who never considered it a calling for themselves. My formation was an eight-year process that I undertook with my wife, Roseanne. After much prayer and encouragement from others, we decided to pursue the diaconate.

After a year of soul-searching and spiritual direction, I said yes and entered formation. Soon after my ordination, Bishop Gerald Barnes assigned me to the Native American Ministry. I am the only local Native American deacon in Southern California, and it has been a pleasure and a blessing.

Looking back on my journey, I see how God placed me in specific situations to prepare me for my current role. It has been a beautiful calling. I’ve had the joy of seeing my family, including my grandchildren, celebrate their sacraments and participate in the faith. It truly has been a blessing.

How did being a deacon and grandfather influence your decision to come ncyc in 2022?

As far as NCYC, I have always been a promoter of youth being involved in the church, and NCYC is a wonderful venue to be able to do that with. So I have dedicated my life. I can truly say I’m an advocate for youth and young adults. I am a member of a number of boards that focus on youth and young adult ministry.

Seeing my son, Luke, and my granddaughter, Eliana, at the youth conference in Long Beach in 2022 was like a dream come true. Having three generations there—myself, my son, and my granddaughter—was truly a blessing.

I was invited to be a part of NCYC because of my Native American blood and my Native American culture. I was invited to bring that culture to do a welcoming prayer for NCYC. I was able to do that with my son and granddaughter present to welcome everyone to Long Beach. The people there are the Tongva people, which is my heritage on my grandmother’s side. On my grandfather’s side, I am Kumeyaay from San Diego.

It was a wonderful experience being on stage to welcome everyone and bring awareness to the first peoples of this land. My granddaughter led a directions prayer, supported by Tiana and Alana from the reservation. It was wonderful to see everyone pray with us during this special time. It was a blessing to be invited there by the diocese and NCYC for this purpose.

Did your granddaughter experience any transformative moments at NCYC?

The entire event was transformative for her. It was her first time participating in an event where she stayed over for three full days.

I asked her, Tiana, and Alana to lead us in prayer because I wanted them to be active participants, not just me. It took a little coaxing, especially because that was my granddaughter’s first time speaking in front of a large audience like that. But they did beautifully. They were able to do that on two separate occasions: one in a sacred space we had been invited to and another at the closing of the event. It was very special. 

She met quite a few of the presenters I know personally. I was able to introduce them to my granddaughter and son, as well as to Alana and Tiana. They were just very impressed that they got to meet them and share with them. We even sat down and chatted with Father Augustino Torres for quite a while. It was pretty special because it was that personal time to be able to share with them, something they normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to do.

What insights or lessons did you gain from attending NCYC?

God, the Father, calls us in so many ways, and we just have to be prepared to say yes. I am ready to be able to, at a moment’s call, do whatever God wants me to do, as long as it’s physically possible, to bring awareness to the Native American people, our people of this land, and to welcome and have the opportunity to show my granddaughter and my son the greater church. 

We get so caught up in just our parishes, our little communities, and, like Tiana and Alana, they come where their church probably holds about 60 people. So, for them to go from there and then celebrate Mass with thousands of people there, you could just see they were a little uneasy about it because they’re not accustomed to it. But that’s what we are called to do: to open their eyes to the greater church.

And that’s who was present there, the greater church, with the trading of their hats and the trading of all the things and the trinkets. It was beautiful, and they really found it very special.

What advice would you give TO THOSE CONSIDERING attending NCYC this November?

Register and go.

It’s a wonderful opportunity to experience the greater church. The church is bigger than your parish. There’s a big, beautiful church out there, and they’re all waiting to give you a hug. So get out there, bring your hats, bring your trinkets, bring all those things that will encourage others to come. Shake hands, give hugs, and be a part of that big church. 

Register, be out there, and be willing to love God by saying hi to those with whom God has placed you on this earth at this time.

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2023 Host

Mari Pablo

Mari Pablo is a proud Hispanic and cradle Catholic whose life was wrecked in the best possible way when she finally decided to stop fighting and surrender it all to Him. Mari has joyfully worked in youth ministry for over fifteen years, both as a youth minister and theology teacher, and as a presenter for Ascension Press. Mari has a deep love for food but an even greater love for Christ and is dedicated to helping others encounter Him.

2023 Host

Sr. Josephine Garrett, CSFN

Sister Josephine is a native Texan, raised baptist in Houston Texas. Jesus called her to religious life in 2011 and in 2020 Sister made her final vows as a Sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth. She ministers as a licensed mental health counselor, and also serves on the community vocations team and as a national speaker. 

ABOUT NFCYM

The National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM) is a membership organization dedicated to advancing the field of pastoral ministry to young people.

Members enjoy:

  • Professional training, resourcing, and support
  • Full access to our resources and webinars,
  • Special rates to NFCYM events, and more.

You will now be directed to NFCYM.ORG to complete registration.

ABOUT NFCYM

The National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM) is a membership organization dedicated to advancing the field of pastoral ministry to young people.

Members enjoy:

  • Professional training, resourcing, and support
  • Full access to our resources and webinars,
  • Special rates to NFCYM events, and more.

You will now be directed to NFCYM.ORG to complete registration.

2023 Host

Mari Pablo

Mari Pablo is a proud Hispanic and cradle Catholic whose life was wrecked in the best possible way when she finally decided to stop fighting and surrender it all to Him. Mari has joyfully worked in youth ministry for over fifteen years, both as a youth minister and theology teacher, and as a presenter for Ascension Press. Mari has a deep love for food but an even greater love for Christ and is dedicated to helping others encounter Him.

2023 Host

Sr. Josephine Garrett, CSFN

Sister Josephine is a native Texan, raised baptist in Houston Texas. Jesus called her to religious life in 2011 and in 2020 Sister made her final vows as a Sister of the Holy Family of Nazareth. She ministers as a licensed mental health counselor, and also serves on the community vocations team and as a national speaker.