by Tonia Borsellino
High school students from six parish youth groups in the Diocese of St. Augustine traveled to the Steubenville Atlanta Conference in Duluth, Georgia this past weekend.
Fifty-five teens and twelve chaperones from Holy Faith, St. Patrick, St. Augustine, Queen of Peace, Epiphany, and Sacred Heart Catholic Churches made the journey for the three-day long conference.
“This experience has opened my mind and heart. I’m so committed to God and I look forward to becoming one of His messengers in college and elsewhere,” said Libby Rodriguez, a recent St. Francis High School Graduate.
During the conference hosted by Life Teen, the teens heard talks on topics such as “Sharing the Faith with Friends” and “Limitless Love.” From Friday to Sunday they met in small groups, celebrated Mass, sang praise and worship songs, had the opportunity to celebrate the sacrament of Confession, and attended adoration with over 3,000 other teens.
“It’s absolutely incredible. I have seen children’s lives completely changed. It’s the highlight of my summer,” said Frank Mackritis, chaperone and principal at St. Patrick Catholic School in Gainesville.
On the second day of the conference, the teens participated in a Catholic Charities service event: filling baskets with diapers and other toiletries to help expecting mothers in need. More than 100 baskets were put together. Once the baskets were filled, the teens along with Life Teen Missionaries from Camp Covecrest formed lines to help load the trucks. A total of $7,000 was also raised from the collections during Mass for scholarships for Steubenville and other humanitarian projects.
The conference ended with Mass celebrated by Bishop Talley who reminded the teens to know and live out their faith in community.
As the teens returned home, they recounted their experiences over the weekend, and shared short testimonies with others on the bus about the impact that Christ made in their lives through the conference.
Enjoy some additional photos from the weekend’s events: