Our website is made possible by displaying online ads to our visitors.
Please consider supporting us by whitelisting our site.

Seton students ask 'Where do I belong?'

First slide

“It was just incredible. Everyone was worshipping. It was just awesome to see,” said Cormac Clune, a junior at Seton School in Manassas, after returning from the annual Steubenville Youth Conference at Franciscan University in Ohio. This past summer was Seton’s first year attending and marked the largest group to descend upon Steubenville for the annual summer conference.    

This year’s theme was titled, “Belong.” Upon arrival, students unloaded their bags at their assigned dormitories before making their way to the main conference hall, which was filled with praise and worship music and cheering teenagers. As the time drew near for the conference to begin, participants counted down with loud cheers and cries of excitement. Shortly thereafter, young men and women were standing on their feet, adoring Our Lord while music played. 

The real fun began the second day of the conference. After the tired, yet eager, Seton students made their long walk up to the conference hall, they were met with the sound of music and laughter. There was an overwhelming sense of joy emanating from every corner of the campus as other teenagers talked in groups, played ultimate Frisbee and hung out.

Before the talks had even begun, every person expressed overflowing enthusiasm for the upcoming activities. Lined up by school or parish, everyone was released one by one into the conference hall depending on the excitement level of each group. On the way, the group would run down the field and high-five each staff member as a way to spread more excitement. Once Seton entered, they saw large dancing crowds while music filled the room. Like always, there was a concert before each talk, and as the teenagers made their way back to their seats, the second day of the Steubenville Youth Conference officially began. After the first speakers, students chose an activity — talking with group leaders, attending a concert performed by Christian rock bands, or even a meet and greet with the guest speakers. There were also several breakout sessions to choose from. One was about heaven and hell, while another was about dating in high school. And, as always, many priests were available for confession for the attendees.

As day two came to a close, the very last thing on everyone's agenda was adoration, something most teenagers are familiar with when coming to this conference.

“I have never really experienced anything like it,” said Alex Dean, a junior at Seton School. “Everyone was really excited for it.”

Thousands of eager teenagers knelt, as the priest processed with the monstrance several times around the auditorium. Distant giggles or soft crying could be heard as each teen experienced adoration uniquely. People sang as loud as they could, while others knelt down in total and unconditional respect for the Blessed Sacrament. Young men and woman grouped together hand in hand praying and worshipping. Then, in the blink of an eye, the conference came to a close. Everyone gathered for one final Mass and loaded themselves back onto their buses for the long ride home.

So, why go to the Steubenville Youth Conference? Steubenville draws out what most teenagers are told to keep inside — their energy. “It uses the energy that teenagers have to its best advantage,” said Tim Heisler, one of the group leaders responsible for bringing Seton School to Franciscan University. “A lot of retreats try to calm everyone down. This retreat’s goal is to rile everyone up. It would be hard to go back next year without expectations.”

Katherine Reyes, a freshman at Seton, said, “It was a more maturing experience for me.”

Overall, the conference has the ability to open the hearts of young men and women to help them find where they “belong.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019