Steubenville Life Teen conferences bring out the superlatives in youth ministers’ conversations.
“They’re phenomenal,” said Patti Collyer, coordinator of faith formation for children and youth for the Diocese of Oakland, who has been to some of the conferences. “They change lives. They bring about vocations. They’re highly successful. They’re everything we’d want them to be.”
And, this year, one is coming to the Diocese of Oakland.
From July 28 to 30, California State University East Bay in Hayward will host Steubenville NorCal, a conference for high school students. Two thousand students can be accommodated at the conference. On-campus housing is available for some of them; there are options for hotels.
This will be the 25th conference put on by the organization, Collyer said, and one she has hoped to bring to the diocese since her arrival in diocesan ministry seven years ago.
Each summer, Life Teen hosts six different Steubenville Youth Conferences — East, West, NYC, Atlanta, Lone Star and NorCal — with the mission to inspire teens.
Bishop Michael Barber will celebrate the first Mass of the event, at 9:15 a.m. July 29.
Central to the Steubenville conferences, Collyer said, is Jesus. Eucharistic adoration both Friday and Saturday night provide the up close time with the Blessed Sacrament.
Collyer is inviting priests of the diocese to attend, and to hear confessions throughout the weekend, another key element of the event.
Shannon Rogers, who leads youth ministry at St. Raymond Parish in Dublin, worked on conferences on the campus of Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, during her college years.
“It was awesome to see your college campus transformed by high school students,” she said.
In her first ministry on the East Coast, after her college graduation, she took groups to two different conferences. Since coming to Dublin, she has taken groups to San Diego.
“I was so excited to have the event closer to home,” she said. “We used to spend thousands on buses to get to San Diego.”
Her goal is to bring 40 high school students to the Hayward event. The St. Raymond group will stay in on-campus housing. “They should stay in the experience,” she said.
The conference can have a lasting effect on the teens. “They’re the kids that want to stay involved after they’re confirmed,” Rogers said. Many will take on leadership roles.
“I have seen huge changes in a lot of the kids,” she said.
Priscilla Stutzman, youth minister at St. Michael Parish in Livermore, has seen some of those changes, too.
“I have two teens that will start this fall at Franciscan University,” said Stutzman, who, like Rogers, is a Franciscan graduate. “One plans to study theology and catechetics.
“Two young gentlemen are discerning the priesthood,” she said.
Full story at The Catholic Voice.