The Steubenville youth conference is returning to the Greater Toronto Area after a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic. In anticipation of Steubenville Toronto 2022, Courtney Hennessy, event and program coordinator at the Office of Catholic Youth, interviewed Agnes Au, youth minister at Chinese Martyrs Catholic Church in Markham. Agnes has brought a group of teens from her parish to Steubenville Toronto since the weekend conference began in 2014.
What has been the feedback from the teens you have brought to Steubenville?
Many of the teens who attended Steubenville Toronto were either deeply touched during the Eucharistic adoration session, pumped with the worship music, or thrilled with the animated proclamations. For many, it is also an exciting opportunity for fellowship with other young people from several other parishes within our archdiocese and beyond. “Exciting,” “fun,” “touching” and “uplifting” are the usual adjectives I hear, although I’ve also heard “tiring” because the weekend is packed with so much to savour!
How has attending Steubenville with a group of young people effected your parish community?
Steubenville Toronto has helped to heighten the awareness of opportunities to worship and grow spiritually with hundreds of other Catholic teens. There is also a greater appreciation of praise and worship. After attending the weekend conference, many looked forward to living out their faith more proactively, especially in their parish community.
Please share one of your favourite memories from a Steubenville Youth Conference.
There are just too many memorable moments to choose from as we’ve attended Steubenville annually since 2014. Some of my favourite parts include late night pizza while we have our small group sharing in the evenings; the pleasant surprise of seeing so many people seeking the Sacrament of Reconciliation; and the spontaneous chain dance to the uplifting worship music. The best of all has always been the Eucharistic adoration and procession on Saturday night. Year after year, everyone looks forward to seeing the Blessed Sacrament coming their way, overwhelmed by being able to worship Jesus up-close and really feeling His presence amongst us.
What would you say to someone deciding whether they should register a group for Steubenville Toronto 2022?
Do not miss out on this once-a-year opportunity to encounter Jesus and worship him with thousands of brothers and sisters in Christ! “...do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself...” (Mt 6:34). Those who seek God will never go wanting (Ps 34:10). Do not be afraid. Go for it. Join us!
Steubenville Toronto 2022 will take place from July 15 to17, 2022 at Canada Christian College in Whitby, Ontario. For more information and to register a group, please visit: www.steubenvilletoronto.com