When I was in high school, I wasn’t into my faith at all. Religion was just another credit and going to church on Sundays was just part of a family tradition. And I’m being honest – organized meetings of faithful young people, like the Steubenville conferences, would have been THE farthest thing on my mind to attend as a teenager.
So I am proud and relieved and so happy to hear that faith conferences for young people exist. And these aren’t conferences that put young people to sleep. They attract your ordinary teenager of every type – from those who love MTV, rock music and hanging out, to those who love solitude and prayer groups. What they all have in common is a faith that searches for community and support and meaning.
They all want to know that their faith matters in their situation and in their world today, and they look to their peers for support and answers. And they look for strength from Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. In the words of John Beaulieu, Director of Youth and Young Adult Outreach at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, the Steubenville conferences are “events where we gather a lot of Catholic youth, and put them in an environment where they can encounter Jesus Christ. We say, young people, here’s Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, here’s your young people. Have at it!”
For 30 years now, the Steubenville Ohio summer high school youth conferences have been instrumental in reviving the faith of young Catholics. The conferences feature prayer and fellowship, and great speakers and lively music. Now the Steubenville spirit has come to Atlantic Canada! From August 3rd to the 5th, 2007, over 1 000 young people came to express their faith in this first-ever Steubenville Conference that was held outside of the US. The theme was All Access: “And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.” (Ephesians 2:17-18). And the spirit was very much the World Youth Day spirit and message that young people are the hope of the world. According to Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ, former Archbishop of Halifax, “it takes a long time to absorb a papal visit. It takes a long time to absorb World Youth Day, but that’s what we’re doing now.”
So mark your calendars! On September 16th, 2007, at 7pm and 11pm ET, join host Mary Rose Bacani for a Catholic Focus look at Steubenville Atlantic 2007. Special guests include John Beaulieu (Director of Youth and Young Adult Outreach at the Franciscan University of Steubenville), John Stevens (Coordinator of the Steubenville Atlantic 2007 conference), speakers like Tammy Evevard and Kristen Harakal, and former Archbishop of Halifax Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ. The stars of course are the youth from all over Canada who were participating or leading the weekend’s events. If you miss the 16th, you have another chance to view this episode on September 18th, 2007 (7pm and 11pm ET).
Share in the World Youth Day spirit!
For more information, visit the Steubenville Atlantic 2007 official conference home page by clicking HERE
, or the Franciscan University of Steubenville web site by clicking HERE