Before the final blessing at the closing Mass, Fr. Chris Martin stood up to signal a long-standing tradition at Steubenville Mid-America: the call for vocations.

Baptized, We Live

First, Fr. Martin led off with those who are thinking about being baptized after going to Steubenville Mid-America. A handful of teens responded and walked up to the stage to a standing ovation. Fr. Chris Martin then made a pledge–and invited the rest of the crowd to join him– to fast and pray one day next week for those teens as they make their journey toward baptism.

Finally, Bishop Rice blessed the courageous teens asking God: “Continue to call these young men and women into the fullness of life with Your Son.”

The Priesthood – Becoming Fishers of Men

Next, Fr. Chris Martin invited the young men who might be called to the priesthood to step forward. A sea of teens flowed up to the stage, and the crowd was once again on its feet as Fr. Martin remarked, “I think this is the most guys I’ve seen at a Steubenville Conference coming forward for this.”

Bishop Rice invited the other priests to join him in his blessing: “You chose simple, ordinary men to set aside their nets for a greater mission. You continue to call men to be ‘fishers of men’ for the Church. Someday, they may raise Your chalice of blessing and call upon Your name as Your holy priests.”

The Consecrated Life – Surrendering to Christ

Finally, Sr. Consolata Crews took the stage and read a beautiful letter from Jesus to the young women in the crowd. There was no doubt that it was truly inspired by the Holy Spirit. She invited the women to surrender to Christ, and to let Him complete their every desire. When Sr. Consolata finally asked the young women who might be called to this life to come forward, the aisles on the floor of the arena was almost completely filled. Thunderous applause and a blessing awaited them at the stage.

Bishop Rice blessed the young women saying, “Imagine what all of you can do to wake up this world of ours! You are a living sign of the presence of Jesus. Continue to touch the hearts of these young ladies to bring them to Your heart.”

As everyone returned to their seats, the crowd in the JQH arena cheered. Bishop Rice blessed the crowd as everyone marveled at the amazing fruit this weekend’s conference had borne. Steubenville Mid-America Week 1 is now over, but teens are going back to their homes all over the country to spread the limitless love that they have received.

Quotables

“The limitless love of God allows us to do limitless things when we unite ourselves with Him.” – Fr. Chris Martin

“The hours are horrible, the pay is terrible, but the retirement plan is heavenly.” – Fr. Christ Martin (on the priesthood)

“Seek me and I will overwhelm you. I love you with a pure heart and a pure love.” – Sr. Consolata Crews (reading her letter from Jesus)

“I long for you more than you long for love.” – Sr. Consolata Crews (reading her letter from Jesus)

Written by Maggie Schroeder
Maggie was an intern at the Office of Youth Ministry for the Archdiocese of St. Louis in 2016. She studied Communication and Theology at Saint Louis University. In her spare time she loves playing Ultimate and playing popular songs on the recorder (you know, the sonorous woodwind instrument you played in 5th grade music class).