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An ‘unforgettable experience’ | Steubenville STL Mid-America has rock-concert feel mixed with silence

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Steubenville STL Mid-America conference had the look and feel of a rock concert on this day; in fact, JQH Arena on the Missouri State University campus was set up as such — with a stage, three big video screens and a roof-to-floor curtain in front of seats in the west section.

At that evening session July 16, teens counted down — five, four, three, two, one — for the gates to open, then rushed through the concourse so quickly that their wake blew phamplets off a vocations table.

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SteubySTL will draw teens closer to Christ

Jacob Pappas, middle left, and his youth group from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, enjoyed the rock out session that was led by worship leader Adam Bitter. Bitter played covers from the band Walk the Moon and solo artist George Ezra at the Stuebenville St. Louis Mid-America held at JQH Arena in Springfield, Mo.,in 2015.

Seventeen years ago, the Steubenville youth conference was humbly born in a gymnasium at Marquette High School in west St. Louis County. The first conference, which drew 987 participants, was less than six months after Pope John Paul II's pastoral visit to St. Louis.

The teens quickly outgrew the space. The following year, it moved to St. Louis University High School — but interest was spreading across the Midwest. In 2002, the conference found its home at Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo., where it's been held every summer ever since.

Steubenville conferences include extensive social media coverage

Can't make this summer's Steubenville St. Louis Mid-America youth conferences? Is your teen planning to attend and you can't be there? No worries. You can catch the action online.

This year's conferences, July 12-14 and 19-21, will take place at Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo. More than 6,700 teens from St. Louis and around the country are expected to attend which is co-sponsored by the archdiocesan Office of Youth Ministry, a part of the Catholic Youth Apostolate, and the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.

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