This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend Steubenville NYC, a conference for teens hosted by the Franciscan University of Steubenville and Life Teen. Every year, they host over twenty “Steubie Conferences” all over the country that are centered around living out the faith as a high schooler.
From my experience, I observed a lot of teens who are at a time in their lives where they’re desperate to fit in and to know who they are. Living out their faith is hard to do when there is a fear of being judged for their faith in their schools, workplaces, or families. But at Steubie NYC, I witnessed thousands of teens diving into their faith and becoming vulnerable in small groups, prayer, and praising our Lord; and it was truly beautiful.
The teen participants got to hear talks about things that are relevant in their lives, such as friendship drama, dating, and preparing for college. They were able to talk about their relationships with God in a setting where they knew that their peers are on the same page. Because they were surrounded by hundreds of other students their age who are serious about the faith, they got the affirmation that they are not the only teenagers out there looking for something deeper. These are things that we often take for granted. I’ve seen that, for many high schoolers, the desire to “fit in” is eminent, but as Catholics, we know that having God at the center is necessary.