Summer conferences for Catholic youth inspire, renew faith

.- School’s out and Catholic summer youth conferences are heating up. More than a dozen regional camps have been organized and the young people are coming out to grow in their faith.

About 750 high school students gathered at Saint Martin's College in Lacey, Washington, last weekend for the Northwest Catholic youth conference, sponsored by the Franciscan University of Steubenville.

The conferences, held throughout the United States under the theme “Rise Up”, are aimed at putting fire in Catholic youth. Teens are encouraged to live out their faith and are reminded of God's love. They listen to motivational speakers, attend mass, pray, sing and hang out with other Catholic teens.

The conferences started 30 years ago in Steubenville, Ohio. About 30,000 youth are expected to attend the Steubenville conferences this summer.

The teens came from all over Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia, Canada, for the Northwest's first Steubenville conference, reported The Olympian. 

"You meet a whole bunch of kids that believe the same thing you do," Philip Joy of Olympia said.

"This conference gives them hope," said Bob Falkner, president of Spiritus Ministries Northwest in Olympia, who has been taking his youth group to Steubenville conferences for the past four years. "It's that relationship with Jesus Christ coupled with service that makes everything have sense," he said.

Falkner and Peggy Martinez were in touch with Steubenville organizers in planning to bring the event to the Northwest since September. Martinez quit her job to dedicate herself to the project full time.

Two other conferences were held this weekend in Louisiana and Ohio.

Regional summer conferences will be held throughout the month of July. Check out this list for meetings in your region: 

Young Adult Conference (Washington, DC)    July 2-4, 

High School Youth 2  (Steubenville, OH) July 9-11

St. Louis/Mid-America (Springfield, MO) July 9-11

West (Tucson, AZ) July 9-11

East 1 (Attleboro, MA) July 9-11

Atlanta (Atlanta, GA)   July 16-18

High School Youth 3 (Steubenville, OH) July 16-18

East 2 (Attleboro, MA) July 16-18

The Rockies (Denver, CO) July 23-25

San Diego (San Diego, CA) July 23-25

North (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN) July 30-Aug. 1

For information on Steubenville conferences, visit www.franciscanyouth.com

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