Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What I do when I'm not blogging! Steubenville Atlanta

July 17th the Epiphany Youth Group from Lake City, Florida joined a group from the Diocese of St. Augustine to attend to the annual Steubenville Atlanta Conference hosted by Life Teen. I am one of the youth ministers at Epiphany, this was my first youth conference and I had some reservations. Upon arriving I wondered what had I gotten myself into? Over 2,000 teenagers bustled around in anticipation of the events to come. Each attendee received a color coded wrist band to identify their location in the conference and a lanyard to serve as a ticket. I felt that the system of identification was very complex and I wondered if the 2,000 teens would comply. Hoping to avoid mass hysteria, I studied the agenda. Our pastor Fr. Mike, my husband Jim, and I gathered our group together in our “green” section to wait. The doors of the Gwinnett Conference Center opened and the youth entered in an orderly fashion. The teens that surrounded me were very enthusiastic, and the energy in the building was on fire. The host introduced the first musician, Matt Maher and the throngs of teens cheered. The electricity grew when Catholic rapper Righteous B took the stage. The first night concluded with benediction and the opportunity for confession. The next morning our group woke early to attend sessions on chastity for men and women. The youth had several options of talks to attend and choose the topics that interested them. More music, confession, mass, and talks filled the second day. Each session brought the teens closer to the climax of the weekend, a Eucharistic procession on the second night. The second night was an evening of change. As the Eucharist passed by I watched many teens experience God in their lives for the first time. Some cried, other laughed; but all were moved by the Holy Spirit. I was inspired by the faith of these youth. The final day of the conference was Sunday and the day began with more music. The Host entertained while the teens prepared themselves for the mass. The faces of the youth would cause an on looker to believe that they were attending their first mass. The teens were attentive and in tune with God. They exemplified what it means to be Catholic today. Life Teen and Steubenville had successfully introduced the beauty of the Catholic faith to a new generation. The conference had not changed the Catholic faith. Rather they gave the faith a modern flare like a classic book with a new cover to entice a different audience. At the end of the conference all my reservations about method were gone. The fruits of the conference were evident in the youth. The works of Steubenville Atlanta and Life Teen have brought abundant grace to me and the Epiphany Youth Group. I can’t wait until next years’ conference!

No comments:

Post a Comment