If you didn’t know what was going on, upon entering the Finnegan Fieldhouse on the evening of Saturday, June 13, around 9:30 p.m., you might have been a bit confused.
The lights were dimmed, there was no music to be heard, and the numerous participants of Steubenville Main Campus 4 were silent.
“Are they waiting for a cue to do something?” you might have asked. “Did someone forget what comes next?”
No. It was a moment of silence before the Blessed Sacrament as a peaceful stillness filled the room, the monstrance resting on the altar; Bob Rice’s band at rest for the time; the teens meditative.
In this time of silence the participants quieted their hearts to speak silently to the Lord, and perhaps let him speak to their hearts in return.
This action-packed Saturday of talks from Cooper Ray, Brian Kissinger, Tammy Evevard, and Kris Frank paled in comparison to the supreme Presence before the youth in the quiet Fieldhouse.
Don’t get me wrong—the talks during the day were phenomenal! Each of the Saturday speakers hit on a specific theme involved with the life of a young person in the 21st century… and they couldn’t have done a better job.
Cooper Ray encouraged the teens to “be weak” in order to realize that all strength comes from God; Brian Kissinger presented the many lies society tells teens, and challenged them to reject those lies; Tammy Evevard shared the importance of women seeing themselves as valuable and loved; and Kris Frank revealed that if you want to be a true man, you must see yourself as a son of God first.
The terrific entertainment provided by Cooper Ray in the afternoon, the free time to play Frisbee in the sunny warm weather, the small group sessions, taking time to meet other youth groups, or attend confession with one of the 30+ priests, were also staples of a youth conference Saturday, which the teens took full advantage of.
Morning Mass, with main celebrant Father Brian Barr giving a stirring homily, was beautiful and indicated once more that these youth desired to take their faith more seriously. Assuming a very reverent attitude during the liturgy, many kids also were not afraid to kneel down to receive Holy Communion.
Seeing the witness of these high schoolers on Saturday gave me a lot of hope for the incoming generation of Catholics. They have so much to give, and they are learning day by day how to share these gifts they’ve received.
Until next time… : )