By Andrea Hoisl
More than 100 young people from throughout the diocese traveled to New York July 19-21 to pray, worship and celebrate the gift of faith during the annual Steubenville NYC Youth Conference.
The theme for the weekend was “Belong,” and youth from the diocese donned special T-shirts celebrating the theme.
During the first day of the retreat, MC Chris Padgett told hilarious stories about each of us belonging to Christ, and rapper Righteous B- Bob Lesnefsky, shared a moving story about himself and his son that highlighted the trust of a father. The youngsters also celebrated reconciliation, adoration and Holy Eucharist.
At the arrival Mass, His Eminence Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, thanked everyone for dedicating the weekend to coming to know Christ better. The Cardinal’s homily focused on the influence Mary, the Mother of Jesus, has on us, and he encouraged our youth to embrace her as their mother and to go to her in their time of need.
Saturday’s stifling heat didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits, and youth attended sessions on dating and marriage in today’s world. The guest speakers shared practical knowledge that would help the youth understand how important it is to make well-informed decisions. The sessions were followed by a beautiful evening of Eucharistic adoration, “where many of our young people were moved by Jesus for the first time,” said Liza Roach, our youth and young adult minister.
Sunday’s closing speaker, Joel Stepanek, addressed issues facing young people today including depression, loneliness and mental illness. He stressed that as followers of Christ, we have a built-in support system as well as unconditional love to get us through the hard times that will arise in our lives. Our relationship with Jesus should be a constant source of peace in our lives, he said.
This year’s trip to Steubenville NYC was the best one yet. For the attendees, the weekend was filled with enthusiasm and joy toward each other and God.
“Steubenville NYC was such a great experience because it allowed our young people to come to know Jesus in new and different ways,” said Peggy Abbott, of St. Mary Parish in Clinton. “I can see this retreat having lasting effects on the youth I brought from our parish as well as the other youth who attended from our diocese.”