It was a blessing to see so many of our young people open themselves up to a profound encounter with the Lord during the Steubenville Youth Conference. Our youth approached this retreat with an open and intentional disposition. The theme of the retreat comes from the words of our Lord as He hung on the cross, “I thirst.” As we look at our young people today it is obvious they are thirsting for something. However, they often try to fulfill this thirst with things that will never quench them. It was communicated to our youth that it is Jesus that they are thirsting for, and it is only He that can quench their thirst. I am overjoyed to see how the conference influenced their relationship with Jesus in a powerful way. The Holy Spirit’s presence throughout the retreat was truly tangible. It was especially powerful to see our young people during Adoration. With tears in their eyes, they reached for our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament worshipping as the priest processed with our Lord in the monstrance. I thought to myself, this is what it must of been like when Jesus walked through the crowds. I feel this retreat has encouraged our young people to place Jesus at the center of their lives because He is the only person that can fulfill them. I am looking forward to seeing the many fruits of what our Lord has done for them at Steubenville in their lives. Gavin Arvizo, Coordinator of Youth Ministry
The Steubenville, Ohio retreat will forever be an unforgettable trip! I didn’t think much of it other than the fact of it being a nice time to get away from all the drama and go into an area that calms me the most for a weekend. The trip in general was nice even before we had left St. Joseph’s to get on the buses. When Mass had started I felt like my heart was racing harder than it had ever did before. I saw Father Flum walk in, who I haven’t seen in such a long time, and he is like a walking figure of love. I figured this is the best way for me to start off the trip. Walking into a place filled with so many teenagers who care just as much as I do about Jesus was so heartwarming. I loved every bit of this trip especially adoration! There are so many kids, teens, and adults who don’t even know who God is and that’s a life I could never imagine living in. The one thing I want to take away from this trip is to get more people involved and let others know how much of a great experience I had! Angela Rogers, HS Sophomore
To find a place to start a great story can be a bit of a challenge. Luckily this great story has a set start. It was nearing Father’s day and my family had decided to go to Massachusetts to see my sister, however I had made prior arrangements to go on a trip with my church to some place in Ohio I did not even know how to pronounce. Little did I know how great my experience would be!
The ride up began fairly mundane, I listened to music, some people were chatting with their friends. I had later decided to join the conversation that was being held near me. I do not recall the topic, but it allowed me to become acquainted with new people. We began to have conversations, then debates, however we mostly just joked around.
Once we arrived at Steubenville University we put our bags in our dorms then headed over to the gym. As we began to walk in I could see crowds lining up eager to enter and you could hear the music, not of the band, but of the crowd!
Every night we would enter into the same atmosphere, but that was nowhere near the highlight of this pilgrimage. Each night we would have a speaker come up on stage and give a talk; it felt like the speaker was talking to me. These talks varied every night but still grasped my attention. We would later break up; multiple talks would be held in various locations such as the tent, aerobics room, and all over campus. These talks did not grasp my attention like the ones prior, but I still was connected learning something new every time.
One of my favorite parts of the pilgrimage was when the St. Peter’s guys would come together and talk intimately about their experience and what they learned. I feel it was the close corners honesty that drew me to this part of the pilgrimage helping me to digest the information I was soaking in, thirsting for more.
Then on the last night we had Adoration. I did not care for the large groups while I was there but during Adoration the room felt empty when I closed my eyes. It was as if I could see rolling hills like the ones we passed on the way up. I could still hear the noise of the band but they were gone. The room was empty of people and yet full with life.
I feel this experience did change me into becoming a better person. I still struggle not to sin, but I feel I have gained tools to help me and answers to the questions I brought. Joe Kotlarsic, HS Senior
It was great taking the Saint Peter’s Youth Group to the Steubenville Thirst Conference this year. I was so encouraged by their desire to go further in their faith and come face to face with challenging issues that they experience in their generation. I was also so encouraged to see their love for Jesus as they worshiped Him during Adoration. Through small groups they opened their hearts and discussed how we can make changes in their lives that would bring more honor to Jesus. I am looking forward to all the wonderful fruit in their lives. I am so excited for our youth to go again next year! Shelby Arvizo, Catechist & YM Chaperone