On July 4 - 6, 2014, Toronto and I got our first Steubenville Youth Conference experience. The main topic was “God is…”. Of course everyone knows that young people like to dance, play games and sing together. But have you ever seen today's youth enjoy celebrating mass, going to confession and kneeling down before the Eucharist - and for many hours at a time over the week-end without complaining? The Steubenville TO Youth Conference 2014 was an ideal environment for 2300 youths to worship Jesus. During the 3 day and 2 night journey, it was evident how they naturally connected with God.
“... Let’s get crazy for God, Amen!... ” - The main host Bob Rice encouraged youths in the beginning of the conference. One of the activities that Bob did was to show them some images one by one and asked them to respond to them naturally. Most of these images were things they could relate to such as : Sherlock, Frozen, Tim Hortons, Hockey, etc. They responded with excitement and pitch in their voices . “Worship literally means to give worth to something,…” said Bob Rice. When we see something awesome, we will respond immediately. Steubenville did just that by igniting a tremendous excited response within these young people to our eternal God!
The amount of energy that the speakers radiated was remarkable. Jackie Francois Angel and Ike Ndolo always kept the level of excitement high with their Christian music and dance performances. Not only did the youth follow their movement and beats, but even priests, sisters, deacons and youth ministers were getting into it. The Holy Spirit was witness to the excitement throughout the crowd as they worshipped our awesome God together!
As a member of the S+L Chinese department, I had the opportunity to interview some of the participants who belong to a Chinese Parish in the Greater Toronto Area. One particular group appeared in front of the camera two times: Friday and Saturday night. Within a short time, it was evident how much they grew in their relationship with God and how they were touched by the Holy Spirit. The adoration of the Eucharist was an incredible experience for them.
After a long day which ended with shooting interviews on Saturday, I dropped by the confession area. What a sight it was to see the hall occupied with more than 30 priests listening to confession for these young people. It was truly a blessing to see so many teens partaking in this sacrament at the same time. Everyone came out of that room with such a sweet smile,
I look forward to the Steubenville Conference in Toronto again next year. More youth will be able to be touched deeply by Jesus and bring back the fire to their local Parish.
So, if you asked me “Who is God?” after this 3 day conference, my reply would be "God is Beautiful! " Amen!
Tune in here
to relive or experience for the first time the Steubenville TO Conference and feel the miracles that truly happened to these kids.
S+L will also broadcast a special coverage program in Chinese on July 22.
This blog in Chinese version: https://slmedia.org/chinese/?p=4708
Billy Chan, a former radio host and motivational speaker, spent the past ten years working with youth in Montreal. He enjoys using humour to illustrate his relationship with God. In his blog, you will find reflections on his experience with youth ministry and his special way of working with youth today.