Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Steubenville youth conference draws 1,000 to Spokane

the Inland Register

(From the August 16, 2012 edition of the Inland Register)

The “INCREASE!” team from Steubenville Northwest performed acts of service to the community. (IR photo courtesy of Ann Winkler)

An exuberant and youthful crowd of 1.000 Catholic teens, youth ministers and chaperones from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, Nevada and Canada gathered Friday-Sunday, July 27-29, for a weekend of worship, sacraments, challenging talks, music and Adoration during Steubenville Northwest’s “Eighth Day” youth conference at the INB Performing Arts Center in downtown Spokane.

The theme for the conference, sponsored by Spiritus Ministries Northwest and Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, was “Eighth Day.” Based on Isaiah 43:1, “But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.’” Over the course of the weekend, the attendees journeyed into the reality of Christ’s redemption and what it means for life today. As they enter into the many challenges they face today as Christians, Isaiah 43:1 reminds participants to “fear not!”

Many adults and teens formed long lines to take advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, celebrated with priests from the Archdioceses of Seattle and Portland and the Dioceses of Spokane and Boise. Reconciliation went late into the evening, often past midnight, and also during the day.

Bishop Cupich greeted the gathering Friday evening and was the presider and homilist for the Sunday Mass.

In addition, speakers from around the country came to Spokane to share their wisdom and enthusiasm with the teens.

Paul George from Houma, La., one of the weekend’s hosts, challenged the teens and spoke about living a life of virtue during both the men’s session and formation time with youth ministers. Mary Belski, from Indiana, spoke to returning attendees and to the women’s session, calling participants to break free from their idols and live a life of virtue. Her Friday night keynote talk, “They Were Redeemed,” related the lives of saints, their conversion, and their repentance.

Father José Robles-Sanchez of Alexandria, La., presided at Mass, heard numerous confessions, and was the Saturday keynote speaker. He talked of the need for everyone to live in communion and relationship with God as exemplified through Mary’s obedience and willingness to suffer. Father José also led everyone in Adoration both Friday and Saturday evenings.

The music for the weekend was provided by the Ben Walther Band.

Groups from Notre Dame Catholic Church in Denver, Colo., and St. John the Apostle in Oregon City, Ore., put what they learned from the Eighth Day into practice as they stayed for INCREASE!, a two-day service project.

Led by Bob Falkner, Executive Director of Spiritus Ministries, the 35 youth and adult participants painted the inside rooms of three low-income houses, weeded the flower bed of an older man, mowed a lawn for a disabled woman, helped another disabled woman unpack, weeded at the Missionaries of Charity convent at St. Patrick Parish in Spokane, and “attacked” the back yard flower beds of the Poor Clare Sisters’ monastery in north Spokane.

One participant stated that “everything that I learned over the weekend makes sense now!” The teens and adults from Denver said their trip to Spokane left them with a deeper understanding of what it means to serve.

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