Curious about Franciscan LEAD? Wondering who those teens were who shared their faith stories on stage during the conference? Here's an inside scoop from Emily, a St. Louis native who pariticpated in LEAD during Week One this summer.
This year for Steubenville Mid-America, I was blessed to be able to attend LEAD (LEAD is an acronym which stands for Leadership Evangelization And Discipleship). After seeing how excited other teens from my youth group were after attending LEAD, a week-long retreat leading up to the Steubenville youth conference, I decided that it was something I may be interested in doing.
I attended Steubenville last year, and I assumed that LEAD would simply feel like an extended Steubenville. I was wrong. Read more »
For the past fifteen years, the Archdiocese of Saint Louis has been blessed to host Steubenville Youth Conferences, which have served nearly 50,000 teens.
Conferences like this simply cannot happen without the dedication of many staff members and volunteers, most of whom work behind the scenes out of love for God and His people.
Since 1999, the primary organizer of these Steubenville youth conferences has been Rosanne Twellmann, Coordinator of Events for the Office of Youth Ministry. It is our great loss that Rosanne will be heading into retirement this fall. Though we will miss her, we are grateful for her dedicated service and wish her all of God’s best in the future.
As today’s conference came to a close, she was given the gift of a beautiful quilt made out of t-shirts from all of the conferences she has organized.
Rosanne’s influence could never be measured, but we know that she has made a huge difference in countless people’s lives. Read more »
To conclude our conference, we participated in the greatest act of worship - the celebration of the Eucharist.
In his homily - which you can hear in its entirety here - Bishop Rice challenged us to think about how we will respond when we go back home and people ask us about this weekend. And though it can be challenging to summarize what happened here in a few sentences, today’s Gospel gives us the answer.
Like Mary, we have been sitting at the feet of Jesus - and hopefully we will go home with the realization that it is enough to simply be in His presence.
However, it is important to keep in mind that when we sit at the feet of Jesus, He eventually invites us to stand with Him at the cross. Living with Jesus has consequences: He never gets enough of us. He always wants more of us.
He is fascinated by you; He thinks you are an amazing person. Read more »
Tonight, our keynote speaker Mary Bielski spoke of everyone’s desire to be chosen. We all want to be picked to be on a sports team, we like to have our stuff “liked” on social media, we want to be noticed by others. Ultimately, we all just want to be wanted.
And yet, the reality is that most of us are disappointed by life. Our siblings, members of the opposite sex, our friends, our parents can all fall short of loving us as much as we need.
Regardless of how we feel and how disappointed we may be by life, there’s no question about it: God has chosen us. The only real question is whether or not we will choose Him.
Mary recalled, the day that Jesus was put to death, that there was another man on trial. Pilate said that one man could go free, and the crowd (persuaded by the Scribes) chose Barabbas.
When we place ourselves into this story, we can only really take the place of Barabbas – we’ve all fallen short and sinned, and we all deserve death, but Christ took our punishment upon himself. Read more »
Something very powerful happens when hundreds of men are gathered in one space solely for the purpose of developing a deeper relationship with God. This afternoon, we were challenged, we prayed, and we sang.
Our speaker Paul Kim began by talking about movies, noting that there is a difference between stupid movies and epic movies. We get inspired when we watch epic movies, whereas stupid movies simply lower our IQs.
We tend to love learning about men (in movies, in real life, and in Scripture) who know who they are, are willing to fight for others, and are willing to die - if need be - for an important cause.
He told the story from the book of Daniel of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - who refused to worship a false God and were subsequently thrown into a fiery furnace (but not burned) because God was with them. We are all regularly tempted to worship false Gods, but it's important to be faithful to God, who is always with us. Read more »
We started our women's session today with a question that has plagued men for centuries: What do women want?
Answers from the crowd ran the gamut - from honesty, to respect, to chocolate, to pizza, to Channing Tatum... but ultimately, we settled on love. That's what women really want.
Because love is all around us, in the songs we listen to and the movies and television we watch.
And while the world tells us that love comes down to the way that we look and whether or not we can seduce a man, we know that love is so much more than that. "The devil wears a prom dress," Mary said. "He camouflages sin behind pretty faces and funny commentary and we are utterly deceived."
Then, we pick up the cross of perfectionism – the lie that we have to have it all together – in school, and sports, and beauty, and even in holiness. We never feel like we’re good enough. Read more »
This afternoon's keynote talk, on truth and relativism, came from our host, Chris Stefanick.
"What is truth?" Pontius Pilate asked, two thousand years ago. We are asking that same question today.
Chris spoke so clearly about our current culture of relativism (a flawed philosophy which claims that it's true for everybody that nothing is true for everybody) and how closely it's connected to our culture of death.
We're afraid of truth, as a society, because we think it will make us seem hateful and bigoted. But the truth of our faith teaches us differently. Disagreeing with someone's actions doesn't mean we don't love them. It doesn't make us haters.
Here are a few killer quotes:
I still love people whose behaviors I disagree with; it doesn't make me a hater. Mother Teresa was not a hater.
Disagreement doesn't have to lead to intolerance; but relativism doesn't lead to agreement or tolerance.Read more »