Among other things, Franciscan University is known for its summer conferences. Youth, adults, and religious travel from all over the country to come to Steubenville, Ohio. This summer, I am serving as a photographer for the conferences. Thus far, it has been a blast photographing the conference participants, especially the teens!
We’ve so far finished up the first two Youth Conferences, plus the Priests, Deacons, and Seminarians Conference, and the Catholic Charismatic Conference. What a joy the experience is! I have never seen so many teens so on fire for their faith and excited to praise our Eucharistic Lord! The depth of knowledge that the LEAD teens display paired with their mature and personal relationships with Christ amazes me. Simply by attending some of the events and hearing the witnesses given by the speakers, I have been blessed in receiving insights into Catholic theology and catechetics. The appeal to faith and reason combined flows through the minds of participants opening and changing hearts.
Working the conferences is a paying job for many Franciscan students during the summer but I think most would agree that it is a ministry as well. Students in black T-shirts with smiling faces hold open doors, manage housing, serve meals, take pictures, and do any and every task to ensure that the conference runs smoothly. I love my job because I get to capture the moments where Christ is present in prayer, in the Eucharist and in the Mass, in confession, and so many other moments throughout. I have enjoyed every moment I have spent working and look forward to seeing the faces of those whom the rest of the conferences will bring!
I learned of Franciscan University while I was in High School. I was adopted from China as a baby. My birth mother was unable to keep me and she left me in a basket with only a note including my name, birthday, and asking that I be taken care of. (I kind of feel like Moses.) The name she gave me, “Zheng Pan,” in Chinese means, “Hope for a Better Life”.