EDITORIAL

Steubenville youth conferences are life-changing experiences

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Awesome music. Challenging, Christ-centered talks by gifted speakers. Powerful prayer experiences at Mass and during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

And a little fun thrown into the mix!

This is the “Steubenville Experience,” which is available every July at the Steubenville East High School Youth Conference, an event which took place this year at the Tsongas Center on the UMass Lowell campus. This summer, over 50,000 Catholic teens from all across North America will participate in 25 Steubenville Youth Conferences, whose purpose is to bring young people to a deep (or deeper!) conversion to Jesus Christ and his Gospel.

The conference’s effectiveness is evidenced by the enthusiasm of the majority of the participants, as well as by the number of confessions that are heard during the course of the weekend. Many teens respond to the prayers, the talks and the music they hear by seeking God’s mercy and forgiveness in the sacrament of reconciliation. Priests will tell you that the confessions they hear at Steubenville East are some of the most thoughtful (and brutally honest!) confessions that they hear during the course of the entire year.

The Diocese of Providence was well-represented in 2018, with groups and participants from a number of parishes throughout the state. We encourage other parishes to consider making Steubenville East an annual event in their youth ministry programs. Without question, these conferences change young lives for the better. They give teenagers the opportunity to come to know Jesus Christ in a personal way, to experience his presence and power in the sacraments, and to learn what it means to live as a Catholic young person in a deeply secularized culture — a culture that does almost nothing to support them in their faith.