More than 2,100 teens from 13 states and Canada were encouraged to "rise up and join a Catholic revolution" at a Franciscan University of Steubenville youth conference held that past weekend, reported The Steubenville Herald-Star.
Youth minister and conference host Bob Lesnefsky told the youth that “Pope John Paul II won't stop talking about how the Catholic Church is about to experience a revolution…see an outpouring by God on young people.
“We are here to be part of this amazing revolution – and the key to the revolution is you," he said, according to the Herald-Star.
The event is one of 13 Franciscan University youth conferences to be held across the United States this summer, with the theme, "Rise Up in Splendor!" (Isaiah 60:1). They are expected to draw more than 30,000 teens.
The teens participated in praise and worship and in small group discussions on a range of topics, including premarital sex, drugs and prejudice. They also stood in line to receive the sacrament of reconciliation from priests, stationed under a large tent, and participated in a Eucharistic procession and Holy Hour. There was also entertainment and comedy that taught moral lessons.
Youth minister Tammy Evevard of Boulder, Colorado, reportedly encouraged the teens to see how God loves them because "too many of us are blind and convinced we are not loveable. We are blinded by insecurities and difficulties."
Youth minister Ralph Poyo of Raleigh, North Carolina, described to the teens how he once felt that he was not worthy of God's love.
"Our faith is about our personal relationship with Jesus, about a faith that is living," he told the youth. "Move into the world and change it."
For information on other youth conferences this summer, go to: www.franciscanyouth.com