Teens from across the Midwest experienced the restoring love of Jesus through inspiring talks, praise and worship and the sacraments at the annual Steubenville STL Mid-America youth conferences, which took place in July.
Held on the campus of Missouri State University in Springfield, the conferences are organized through a partnership among the archdiocesan Office of Youth Ministry, Steubenville Conferences and Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. The event is one of several Steubenville youth conferences typically held in the summer across the United States.
This year’s theme was “Restored,” from Psalm 80:3. Throughout the weekend, teens heard from speakers on various topics. The sacraments are key elements of the weekends, including Mass, confessions and eucharistic adoration. For many teens, the weekend is a life-changing experience, shaping how they practice their faith.
Chika Anyanwu, an international Catholic evangelist and author, told teens that God can heal wounds too, but it requires us to “be opened.” The Lord sees you, even if other people don’t see you, she said. “Jesus wants to step into your life, take you to the side, and be alone with you. If you want to see Jesus, look at the cross. If you want to see restoration, look at the cross. Out of an abundance of love for you, He died for you. He is for you. He will never abandon you in your time of need.”
From its inception in 1999 as a weekend event hosted at Marquette High School in Chesterfield — just a few months after St. John Paul II’s visit to St. Louis — the conference has grown over the years and was held virtually last year because of the pandemic. Returning to an in-person event this year, attendance was scaled back to allow for social distancing, with 1,977 teens from across the Midwest attending the weekend of July 9-11. And 1,872 were expected to have attended the second weekend, July 16-18. A total of 128 volunteers helped on both weekends.
Visit steubystl365.com for photos, blog posts, videos and other
highlights from both weekends.