This past weekend, 8 youth and young adults from our parish hooked up with St. David's Catholic Church's Youth Group in order to attend the first ever Steubenville Toronto Youth Conference at the Mattamy Centre (former Maple Leaf Gardens). It was a weekend filled with worship and praise, talks given by highly gifted lay Catholic speakers and liturgies con-celebrated by over 40 priests, 4 bishops and our own Cardinal Collins.
We prepared for this great event with an evening of Eucharistic Adoration at our parish with many of the youth leaders in attendance. We prayed for each individual participant by name. We then began a 9 day novena to the Holy Spirit and offered 9 masses for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all the conference participants, leaders and workers.
The theme of this weekend's conference was "GOD IS". We reflected on a Isaiah 12:2 "Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the Lord God is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.” Hundreds of youth (and some clergy too!) experienced deep healing through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Eucharist and Adoration. We truly experienced the power of salvation that Christ won for each one of us.
We are truly grateful to God for this great gift He gave us right at the beginning of the summer season. We are grateful to the Archdiocese of Toronto for having spent years to prepare for this weekend. We are grateful for the Americans who gave up their July 4th weekend to come and preach and serve us Canadians. We are grateful for all of the volunteers who worked hard to make everything run so smoothly and successfully. We are grateful for St. David's Youth Group (especially to Frank and Daniela) for allowing us to join with them on this deep experience of faith.
We hope and pray that the seeds planted in our hearts this these past few days will bear a lot of good fruit. It did for me. I attended 3 Steubenville Conferences in the 1990's. Even though I had a sense that Christ had been calling me to the priesthood before attending the conferences, it was there that I received a deep confirmation of my priestly vocation and developed the courage to finally say "YES" May the 60 male and 30 female youth who claimed to feel the same call to either the priesthood or consecrated life after the closing Mass on Sunday morning have the courage to say YES too! May each of them discover their vocation (which, in the end, is an individual path in which we LOVE both God and neighbour) and live it with full power and might.