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Toronto Hosts First-Ever Steubenville Conference

July 4, 2014
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For close to 40 years, Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio has been inviting young people into an encounter with Jesus Christ through the execution of the ever-popular and growing Steubenville conferences. This year, the Archdiocese of Toronto and the Office for Catholic Youth bring the city of Toronto the first ever Steubenville Toronto.
Steubenville Conferences, through the sacraments of the Church and the power of the Holy Spirit, strive to introduce the youth to Christ’s love and encourage them to open their hearts, become His disciples and embrace the mission of the Catholic Church. For the past few years, the combined effort of 15 lay and clergy professionals and over 200 volunteers, led by the Rev. Frank Portelli, worked through the many ups and downs to bring Steubenville Toronto into fruition from July 4-6.
“The layers of details [that go into] this conference is mind-boggling,” Fr. Frank said. “From building up the design of the conference (the Steubenville Conference logo , which was designed by Salt + Light’s Dominic Gomes) to printing banners, signs, individual kneelers, cinch bags, water bottles and the list goes on.”
His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, who appointed Fr. Frank to the Office of Catholic Youth in late 2011, also appointed the Special Projects Manager of the Archdiocese of Toronto Matthew Sanders as the Assistant Conference Director. His tasks were broad in scope and included being the primary contact for the day-to-day operations, to makings sure the conference sold out and making sure the food arrives on time.
Approximately 2,400 teens and 200 volunteers from 78 parishes Canada-wide registered for the sold out Steubenville Toronto, which will be the first largest Catholic Event in Canada since World Youth Day Toronto in 2002.
“The most surprising thing about planning this conference was selling out so quickly!” Sanders said. “It was naturally a delight to witnesses so many people’s enthusiasm for youth ministry across Ontario, but it certainly put the onus on us to deliver the best Steubenville Conference ever delivered. I hope the participants, volunteers and presenters leave Steubenville Toronto with a greater awareness of the love of God for each one of them.”
Steubenville Toronto will be held inside the Mattamy Athletic Centre, formerly known as Maple Leaf Gardens and the current home of the Ryerson University Rams. Leslie Gyulay, event coordinator for the Archdiocese of Toronto, was tasked with taking care of the entire interior event logistics for the center, coordinating with all the exhibitors during the conference and arranging hotels for the youths and parishes attending the conference.
With the conference only a few hours away, the entire Steubenville Toronto Conference team waits with great anticipation for what is sure to be a spectacular and life-changing conference.
“There has been no major conference in southern Ontario and we wanted something here to expose the youth to the person of Jesus Christ,” Gyulay said. “As someone who was born and raised in Toronto, I wish I had an event like this growing up. It lets the youth know that are not alone in their desire to strengthen their faith and a conference like this creates a Catholic Christian community across the province. The conference sold out quickly and that shows a real hunger that the youth have to strengthen their faith. It’s going to be a great show.”
Salt + Light Media will stream and broadcast live from the Mattamy Athletic Centre beginning Friday, July 4, 2014 at 6:45 pmFor full coverage schedule, see below:
July 4, 2014
Opening Music: Ike Ndolo   6:45 p.m. ET   3:45 p.m. CT
Introduction: Bob Rice   7:15 p.m. ET   4:15 p.m. CT
Talk Series on ‘God Is…”: Mike Gormley, Mary Bielski, Bob Rice   8:30 p.m. ET   5:30 p.m. CT
Eucharistic Adoration: Fr. Dave Pivonka   9:15 p.m. ET   6:15 p.m. CT
July 5, 2015
Morning Prayer: Bob Rice   8:30 a.m. ET   5:30 a.m. CT
Keynote God is Real: Fr. Dave Pivonka   9:00 a.m. ET   6:00 a.m. CT
Mass: Most Rev. Prendergast, Archbishop of Ottawa   9:45 a.m. ET   6:45 a.m. CT
Explanation of Workshops: Bob Rice   10:45 a.m. ET   7:45 a.m. CT
Workshop God is in Media: Jackie Francois Angel   11:15 a.m. ET   8:15 a.m. CT
Entertainment: Jackie Francois Angel   1:30 p.m. ET   10:30 a.m. CT
Workshop God is in the Day to Day: Mary Bielski   2:30 p.m. ET   11:30 a.m. CT
 Share the Glory: Most Rev. Gary M. Gordon   6:45 p.m. ET   3:45 p.m. CT
Keynote God is Saviour: Mary Bielski   7:30 p.m. ET   4:30 p.m. CT
Eucharistic Adoration: Fr. Dave Pivonka   8:30 p.m. ET   5:30 p.m. CT
July 6, 2014
Morning Gathering Music: Ike Ndolo   10:00 a.m. ET   7:00 a.m. CT
Closing Mass: His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins   10:45 p.m. ET   7:45 a.m. CT
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