On Friday, July 13, 2012, 50 youth and adults from the Diocese of Raleigh joined 2,500 attendees at the 2012 Steubenville Atlanta High School Youth Conference. Since 1998 the conference, sponsored by Franciscan University of Steubenville and Life Teen, has offered a powerful weekend of evangelization for Catholic teens. Located at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia, Steubenville Atlanta strives to provide a setting for developing a deeper relationship with Jesus through a weekend conference centered on Eucharistic Adoration and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The theme for this year’s conference was The Eighth Day, referring to a passage in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (349): “The seventh day completes the first creation. The eighth day begins the new creation. Thus, the work of creation culminates in the greater work of redemption. The first creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendor of which surpasses that of the first creation.”
The delegates from the Diocese of Raleigh included members of three parishes: St. Luke, Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Mary Magdalene. Among the adults attending were Fr. Tony DiCandia, Catholic Campus Minister for North Carolina State University, and Sr. Rose Marie Adams, IHM, Director of the Diocesan Office of Evangelization and Catechesis.
The weekend featured worship and a variety of presenters, including Mark Hart, executive vice president for Life Teen International, Mary Bielski, founder of ALL4HIM Ministries, entertainer Chris Padgett and Worship Leader Ike Ndolo. The conference also encouraged Reconciliation and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Mrs. Laura McSoley of Our Lady of Lourdes attended with her daughter and served as a chaperone. “The conference was amazing!” she said. “To see 2,500 teens so excited about Jesus was awesome! Everything from the music, to the talks that were given by the speakers, and the homilies, were so relevant to our youth. Everything spoke straight to their hearts. Even as an adult, I couldn't help but be affected and stirred inside by the things that were said.
“The definite high of the conference was Eucharistic Adoration. I watched 2,500 teens pray and be with our Lord for an hour and a half! They would have stayed longer, too, if it hadn't ended. The presence of the Holy Spirit was so incredibly powerful. There were kids cheering, crying, laughing, kids on their knees...it is a picture in my mind that I'll never forget.”
Above: Steubenville Atlanta 2012 attendees from the Diocese of Raleigh. (Click photo to view larger.)