In the summer of 2019, I attended my very first Steubenville Conference at Concord, CA. I’ve been to multiple retreats in the past, but this experience was uniquely impactful. The many speakers who were priests or just ordinary people spoke with such dignity and passion. Adoration will always hold a special place in my heart, and it’s one of my favorite parts of being a Catholic. Feeling the presence of God so near always makes me feel comforted and loved. During the conference, Adoration was held with hundreds of people, which made it astonishing. It’s nice to know that there are many people out there who share the love of God. When worship music plays in the background, and you hear the people in the crowd sing from their heart, I experienced an unexplainable feeling.
This summer, I was looking forward to attending the Steubenville Conference again. I missed the pure closeness I felt to Jesus. During these times, it can be difficult for us to maintain our prayer life and overall faith. I know many people, including myself, struggle in being consistent with prayers during quarantine. Things seem very uncertain and events have either been postponed or canceled. Where I live, churches were only open for a couple of weeks before being shut down due to the COVID-19 cases rising. I was able to attend one Mass and Adoration at the beginning of July before circumstances became more strict. With today’s advancements we are lucky enough to live stream Mass on a variety of platforms. Watching Mass at home isn’t the same as being there physically. To maintain my faith, here are a few things I like to do…
Praise and Worship
As I mentioned earlier, praise and worship is my favorite form of praying. At my church, I am part of the youth choir and singing is a way for me to connect with God. “Those who sing pray twice.” is a quote written by St. Augustine that I hold close to my heart. Currently, my favorite song is Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace) – Live by Hillsong Worship. There are many playlists on Spotify and Youtube that include beautifully crafted songs you can listen to.
Life Teen Meetings
At the beginning of quarantine, my youth group and I would have Zoom calls every other week. This was an excellent way to connect and see how everyone was doing. Last month our priest allowed us to meet in front of the church (socially distanced and with masks) to have normal life nights. There have been many changes lately within my church as we got a new priest, and our Life Teen coordinator is leaving to go to college at Franciscan University.
Checking up on Loved Ones
People always underestimate how much a text, letter, or call can make someone’s day. With all the crazy events happening in the world, many people can feel hopeless or alone. Don’t forget to go text that friend or family member that you haven’t heard from in a while! Praying for loved ones is another great thing to do in your free time.
Books and Social Media
Life Teen and Ascension presents provide tons of videos about various topics to watch. There are priests and different speakers featured to talk about Catholicism and teach you more about your faith. Last year during Steubenville, I bought this book called “100 Things” written by Life Teen. It’s something I like to pick up from time to time to educate myself about specific topics.
Trust me with this one. Whenever I feel disconnected from my faith or lost, I always look at the simple things in life. I truly count my blessings, no matter how big or small. Take a glance outside in nature and you will see how beautiful the sky is. Remember that God created that!! All the people you love and the things in your life was all God’s Plan. If things aren’t going the best, know that better things are coming your way.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7