Teens Rooted in Jesus Christ

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STEUBENVILLE, OH (MetroCatholic) - “What am I worth? I’m worth that guy’s life,” said author Chris Stefanick, pointing to the image of Jesus Christ on the cross. “We’re not the sum of our accomplishments. Our worth is not diminished by our failures. One Eucharist is your net worth. You are worth God the Son to God the Father.”

Stefanick spoke to over 1700 teens, youth ministers, chaperones, priests, and religious, who packed Finnegan Fieldhouse June 17-19 for Franciscan University of Steubenville’s first on-campus High School Youth Conference of the summer. Nearly 40,000 teens will attend Franciscan’s conferences this summer in 11 states and Canada.

“I know that God wanted you here,” said conference host Bob “Righteous B” Lesnefsky. “Somehow in God’s mystical plan for your life, you were meant to be here.”

This year’s youth conference theme, “Rooted,” taken from Colossians 2:6-7, guided the experience.

“Sometimes it all hits at once,” said Father Rick Martignetti, OFM, in his Saturday morning homily. “People will hurt us. People who love us are going to die. Storms come. But when the wind comes, the tree that’s well planted isn’t uprooted—it dances in the wind. It rejoices.

“Mary wasn’t spared the storms and troubles of life. But she was rooted. She can teach us the way of holding on to God at all times,” said Father Martignetti, director of the Priestly Discernment Program at Franciscan University.

The weekend centered around Jesus Christ, present in the Eucharist at Mass and in adoration, and his Holy Spirit, speaking through God’s Word in Scripture and the magisterial teaching of the Church to bring the life and love of the Father to every human heart.

A conference highlight was a quiz-show style contest to win free copies of the new international youth catechism, YouCat, made possible through a partnership with Ignatius Press.

“YouCat is a beautiful gift to Catholics,” said John Beaulieu, Franciscan University’s director of Youth and Young Adult Outreach. “We look forward to helping spread that gift through the conferences, and we are very grateful to Ignatius Press for working with us to make it happen.”

Other highlights of the weekend included talks by former MTV personality and director of Internet Ministries for Life Teen Matt Smith, a concert with Catholic singer and songwriter Kelly Pease, and life-changing encounters with Jesus Christ, especially through the sacraments.

After Saturday night’s eucharistic procession and adoration, Dan McCartney, a member of St. Joan of Arc Parish’s youth group in Columbus, Ohio, said, “You could just feel Jesus in the air…It was like the most insane and the most awesome thing I’ve ever experienced in my life.”

“Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, and come to know him in a deeper way,” said Bob Rice, leader of the music ministry at the University’s summer conferences. “As beautiful as it is to adore Christ in the Eucharist, it’s even more beautiful to receive him.”

Many youth were moved throughout the weekend to receive the sacrament of reconciliation.

“My kids went to reconciliation…I think this is a big move for them,” said Nixon Silfanus, the chaperone for a group of three teens from the parish of Maria Bunda Karmel in Jakarta, Indonesia (“it’s about 20 hours to Steubenville in the plane alone”). “They followed all the sessions very well and enjoyed being immersed by the whole thing. This is beyond our expectation.”

Silfanus says he doesn’t believe it was an accident that he and his group were able to attend the conference, or that they had such a powerful experience. He hopes, “with the Holy Spirit to guide us,” to spread the word about the conferences in Indonesia and return next year with a larger group.

Three Steubenville Youth Conferences occurred simultaneously in three different locations - Houma, Lousiana; West Palm Beach, Florida; and Steubenville, Ohio. The next “Rooted” conferences will be Steubenville South in Alexandria, Louisiana, and Steubenville Main Campus 2 at Franciscan University, June 24-26. For more information, see www.franciscanyouth.com

Video clips and more highlights of the High School Youth Conference can be found under News and Events at www.franciscan.edu. For audio recordings of the main talks by conference speakers, go to www.franciscan.edu/bookstore and click on the “Conferences” tab at the top of the homepage.

Upcoming Franciscan University summer conferences for adults include the St. John Bosco Conference (July 20-24) for youth ministers, directors of religious education, and others involved in faith formation, the Applied Biblical Studies Conference (July 27-29) for those seeking a deeper knowledge and understanding of Scripture, and the Defending the Faith Conference (July 29-31), which focuses on Catholic apologetics. For more information, including a complete list of conferences for adults and youth, go to www.franciscanconferences.com .

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Posted By:George Vogt

George and his family, natives of Louisiana, now reside in Little Elm, Tx. They are active parishioners at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Frisco, TX George is a co-founder of MetroCatholic

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One Response to “Teens Rooted in Jesus Christ”

  1. allan says:

    Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, and come to know him in a deeper way. I believe that should be the focus of every Christian

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