This summer, five of our high school youth elevated their summer fun with a faith-filled and enlightening trip. From July 14-16, they attended Steubenville Rochester, a three-day conference in Rochester, Minn. where 1,300 participants encountered Christ through speakers, Confession, adoration, small-group discussions, and Mass together.
“It was a great opportunity for our youth to encounter Christ,” says Kristen Rolling, our Faith Formation Coordinator. “Many of them experienced something new impacting their faith — praying the Liturgy of the Hours for the first time, having powerful moments with Jesus in adoration, taking away faith nuggets from the speakers and simply being around many young Catholics. It was a powerful experience.”
Though we have brought youth to Steubenville conferences in the past, it’s been three years since we brought a group, and, for Kristen, this was her first time.
“It was an enjoyable trip,” she says. “It is always rewarding to be around youth, especially when you witness moments where God works in their hearts.”
And throughout the conference, God did just that! He was clearly moving in the hearts of the young people all weekend. As Deacon Andy — who went as a chaperone — says, the chaperones also experienced Christ in a new light throughout the weekend.
“It was a privilege to see so many young Catholics participating in worship and deepening their faith,” Deacon Andy says. “It builds my faith to see the Spirit move through them.”
The five youths from Antigo joined other youths from the Green Bay Diocese for the trip. Together, they rode to Rochester, and they encountered Christ and built relationships with one another.
“I really enjoyed my first experience of a Steubenville Conference at Rochester,” says Clare, a student who attended the conference. “They made sure everyone was able to go to Confession throughout the weekend. Everything revolved around adoration. It was refreshing.”
“This was my first time at a Steubenville event,” adds student Anna, who also attended. “I really enjoyed adoration.”
Tina, one of the chaperones, also appreciated having the opportunity to attend and to witness how the conference positively impacted the youth.
“At the Steubenville Conference I was reminded of how St. John Paul II always reminded the youth that the future of the Church is in their hands, and when he met with them, they gave him great hope,” Tina says. “Witnessing so many young people seeking and finding Jesus, especially in the Blessed Sacrament, gives me great hope for the future of the Church. The Holy Spirit really showed up in a big way!’
As Kristen tells it, weekends like this — with opportunities to get together outside of their normal routine and grow in faith — are priceless for our youth in this day and age.
“Our world makes it really challenging to find times of stillness on our own,” Kristen says. “At these conferences, students are provided with an environment that allows them to go deeper within and listen to what God is trying to say to them. They are also able to hear personal testimonies from speakers about how and why the speakers have made Christ the center of their lives.”
The students returned to Antigo refreshed and renewed in their faith, with a deeper appreciation for Christ in the Eucharist and the power of Christian community. Summer fun doesn’t get much better than that!