Steubenville Lonestar 2016 was extremely touching and truly, a beautiful experience. I did attend Steubenville Mid-America last year, and although it was larger, it was nothing compared to the mass amount of energy from the youth at Lonestar. Every single person was jumping, the ceiling and chandeliers were shaking, and if I were to pause for a moment and stand still, the floor would bounce up and down. For the first time ever, I truly felt everyone in the room was experiencing the presence of God, and not one person wasn’t having the time of their lives, feeling the Holy Spirit move through them. This was the kind of retreat where after we left, everyone from our group was sharing our incredible experiences with the other youth from the parish who did not attend, or even some of their non-Catholic friends. For weeks, all I had heard was “Remember when Father Parks dabbed during mass?” from so many different people, over and over again. Later, during adoration, there were teens standing up all around me, praising the Lord, some even with tears. I, myself, felt utter desperation to experience the Holy Spirit again, as I did the year before. Furthermore, many of the talks were about common issues in today’s society regarding the Catholic church, such as gay marriage. The speakers of the talk set everything about this issue straight, eliminating all of the false views that most of us had thought were what Catholics believed about this topic. They explained it in ways I had never considered before, making it easier for me to explain to my other non-Catholic friends who were curious about our views. Overall, this experience allowed me to grow closer to the youth of this parish, definitely leaving me with memories I will never forget.

This story was originally published in September 2016 Edition of The St. Francis Grapevine, our parish newsletter.