'Limitless' at Steubenville Mid-America Conference

WEston Kenney | 
Bishop Edward Rice processed to every corner of JQH Arena in Springfield, Missouri, during Eucharistic Adoration on Saturday, July 11, 2015.

Faith brought more than 3,000 youth from around the United States to Springfield, Mo., this past weekend.

Since 1999, Steubenville Mid-America, an annual Catholic youth conference organized by the the archdiocesan Office of Youth Ministry in partnership with Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, has had one goal in mind: to challenge high school students to enter into a deeper relationship with God and and their Catholic faith.

Seeking justice requires getting out of our comfort zone

A great character believes in his own agency to change the world, has a vision that is larger and more engaging than his own personal accomplishments and has absurd hope, said Stacy Cretors, who spoke to more than 220 young adults July 7 at the monthly Theology on Tap at Kirkwood Station Brewing Company. Cretors is the director of the Life Teen Mission at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta in Ferguson.

Stacy Cretors believes we should have a certain thirst -- specifically, something big that brings us out of our comfort zone. After all, we should be disturbed and uncomfortable with the needs of the world that surround us.

Students grow in faith through prayer, community, service during summer break

Weston Kenney | | Instagram: westonkenney
Emilee Richie, deep in prayer, knelt at adoration at the XLT praise and worship event June 17 at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Church in Ferguson. Richie and other teens are finding ways to remain involved in their faith over the summer break. “God doesn’t stop loving so why would we stop loving Him?” asked Richie.

Bright and early on a summer morning, seven teenagers stroll into your parish's daily Mass. You do a double take, blink a few times, but they're still there. Aren't they usually sleeping? Playing video games? Letting each day roll lazily by?

Some teens might, but not those from St. Louis LifeTeen. They're among the many St. Louis area youth groups in full swing, morning to evening, throughout summer break.

Prayer and Community

Youth Sing Praise harmonizes retreat and theater

Weston Kenney | | Instagram: westonkenney

Youth Sing Praise is a collaborative musical made up of students from high schools from around the United States who come together for a shared passion — theater and praising God through being on the stage. Julia Pottinger, Zach Thompson and Collin Borisenko prepared to present the musical “Just Pretend” June 27 at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Ill.

About 45 high schoolers from around the country huddled in the basement of Our Lady of the Snows Amphitheatre in Belleville as tornado alarms blared and rain trickled down the walls. The electricity flickered out, but they didn't despair.

They just did what they had come to do.

By cell phone light, the teens harmonized in songs of faith: "Things will be fine; we will be fine if we all believe."

NEXT Step Retreat for Catholic teens attending public high school

An overnight retreat for Catholic teens who attend public high schools have an opportunity to explore where God is calling them.

The NEXT Step Retreat will take place June 9-10 at the Marianist Retreat and Conference Center in Eureka. The theme is, "Now is the exact time to step up to God!"

For high school juniors and seniors, the retreat allows them to meet other Catholic teens who attend public high schools. Led by high school students, the retreat will include large presentations, small group activities, prayer, the sacrament of reconciliation, quiet time for reflection and more.

Young adults 'Encounter' Christ


Fabian Gonzalez, of Rogers, Ark., fell from his faith after high school, partly because there was little to keep him involved in the Church after receiving the sacrament of confirmation his senior year.

That changed when a friend invited him to join XLR8 (prounounced "exhilarate"), a young adult group being formed at their parish.

Gonzalez is now vice president of the seven-member group. "It's helping me not just to find faith, but I'm going back to school, too," he said.

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