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St. Greg’s to offer youth conference Aug. 5-6

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St. Gregory the Great’s Youth & Young Adult Ministry is hosting a conference for high school-aged teens Aug. 5-6. “YouCon: Rise” will take place on St. Greg’s Williamsville campus, and feature national speaker Mark Hart. The experience will include amazing talks, prayer moments, fun activities, and food.

“The idea came from seeing the state of our youth have been in, especially coming from Covid. There was really a need to address that,” explained Adam Jarosz, youth minister for St. Greg’s.

St. Greg’s ability to host a large-scale event coupled with the lack of a diocesan Youth Convention for the past two years, opened an opportunity to do something big to lift the spirits of area for the teens.

“It really was a stressful time for a lot of our youth,” said Jarosz. “What we’re seeing anecdotally with the teens in our sphere, and a lot of the studies that are out there show a real increase of depression, anxiety and a real desert in the spiritual sense. Lining all this up, we felt the call to do something big here.”

The event is not unlike other youth conferences held in the past. There will be several keynote speakers, breakout sessions, some parish discussions, live music, morning prayers and Mass, concluding with XLT – an opportunity to exalt God through adoration. Games and a bonfire also will be a part of the Friday night festivities.

Mark Hart, known as the Bible Geek, is a familiar face at the National Catholic Youth Conference. He currently serves as vice president of LifeTeen. An author of three books, Hart’s work on videos and written resources are known internationally.

The YouCon theme of “Rise” came to Jarosz in prayer while focused on Ezekiel in the Valley of Dry Bones.

“There was so much imagery there of coming back to life that it made a lot of sense in that time of planning to have that be a central theme for this event, especially if were addressing where the teens are coming from and being called to. We’re called to live life abundantly,” he said, adding he hopes the conference serves as a catalyst for teens to live to the fullest.

“I would encourage any teenager to take a look at this,” Jarsoz said. “This isn’t the average churchy thing that their parents might be making them go to. This is going to be an event designed to help bring the light of Christ into their hearts and help them to live fully and abundantly, through the challenges and trials that today brings.”

The two-day conference takes place Friday from 6 to 10 p.m. Then doors reopen on Saturday 8 a.m.-8 p.m. 

A $75 registration fee covers attendance and food on Saturday. Each registration is good for one participant. Registration information can be found on Stgregsym.org. Contact Adam Jarosz for any questions or more information at 688-5678, ext. 316.

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