.- As teens around the U.S. shed schoolbooks and paperwork for summer vacation, thousands are gearing up for a different kind of celebration--one they hope will ignite a fire for Christ in themselves and their peers.
Organizers of the Steubenville High School youth conferences are now knee deep in their 29th season of sharing Jesus Christ and the message of the Gospel with young people through music, skits, fellowship, powerful speakers and profound encounters with the Eucharistic Christ.
The internationally praised conferences were born in in 1976, when 1,000 young people from the U.S. and Canada gathered at the then College of Steubenville to light what would become a nationwide fire.
Lisa Ferguson, spokesperson for Franciscan University of Steubenville, who host the conferences, told CNA that the school expects nearly 31,000 teens to attend one of the 14 different conferences being held in venues across the country. As of mid-May, all but four of the venues were completely sold out.
The University calls the weekend conferences a time for young people “to get rocked by God, to get serious about life in Christ and His Church, and to learn the truth of the Gospel.”
Reflecting on the theme of this year’s conference lineup, “Experience the Glory”, director John Beaulieu said on the group’s website that, this summer we will focus on the glory of God--the light revealed in His Son Jesus Christ.”
“We experience this glory”, he said, “during the Mass, during adoration, and when we glorify His Holy Name.”
The youth conferences are part of a larger conference series sponsored by the University which includes weekends for young adults, catechists and priests and religious.