Spotlight

Sold Out??? Think Again

Registration for the two Steubenville Youth Conferences has been incredible! So you saw the numbers at 1770?

Well, due to the unexpected high registration numbers so early, we consulted with the staff at Missouri State University. With their approval we are able to raise the participant numbers to 2000 for the first conference weekend (July 7-9) and 1900 for the second weekend (July 14-16).

So, there's still space! Add some spots or tell a friend, a parish, and have them sign a group up quick! Check out the Steubenville home page for current numbers.

We are blessed and look forward to hosting you this summer 2006 at the Steubenville St. Louis/Mid-America Youth Conferences!! See you there!

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Me an OYM Intern????

Have you ever considered a job in youth ministry? Are you looking for an opportunity to see what youth ministry is all about and experience first hand the behind the scenes work that goes into a youth event? If you are an OYM internship could be for you. Apply [online](/node/54) today for a summer position. Applications are due by February 20.

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Upcoming WYD Themes

Benedict XVI has selected the themes for World Youth Day for the next three years.

The events in 2006 and 2007 will be at the diocesan level. The 2008 event, in Australia, will be international.

In 2006, young people of the world will reflect on verse 105 of Psalm 119: "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path."

The theme chosen for 2007 is from the Gospel, John 13:34: "Love one another, as I have loved you."

The World Youth Day to be held in Sydney from July 15-20, 2008, will focus on the theme taken from the Acts of the Apostles (1:8): "You will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses."

The news was confirmed in a letter of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, dated Nov. 28 and addressed to the "national representatives of WYD and international youth movements, associations and communities." A copy of the letter was posted by Korazym.org.

In the letter, the Vatican council also invites the addressees to a meeting in Ciampino, Rome, next April 7-9, to review the Cologne World Youth Day and to begin preparations for the Sydney event.

Representatives of the organizing committees of Germany and Australia will attend this meeting. Each country, movement, association and community can send two delegates.

*This article originally appeared in [ZENIT](http://www.zenit.org).*

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The Chronicles of Narnia

Another Christian-allegory book made movie is about to hit the theaters big-time this weekend, and it's giving hope to be a satisfying enterprise. [The Chronicles of Narnia][1], following suit to the epic adventure of *The Lord of the Rings*, will offer viewers a chance to enter a new world of adventure, wonder, and good versus evil, and filmed Hollywood-style, it is sure to be very successful and very appealing to the masses. What does this mean?

Evangelization! This Friday, thousands of teenagers will purchase a ticket and go watch this movie, be amazed at its special effects, and wonder what it all means after it's finished. You can help by arming them with explanations of who the characters represent and what the story is *really* about. There are [many free resources available online][2], so check 'em out!

In a country where our Christian identity is [more heavily attacked than ever][3], and especially during Advent, we should be on the watch for opportunities to help regain that identity and present it back to the culture with an even greater force. Don't let this opportunity pass you by; Aslan's counting on you!

[1]: http://adisney.go.com/disneypictures/narnia/
[2]: http://www.narniaoutreach.com/
[3]: http://www.afa.net/christmasban.asp

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Changed forever

Leaves aren't the only thing changing this time of year. This fall will always hold a special place in the heart of one employee here at the OYM. On November 19, 2005 his life changed forever.

Who's life? Joel Stein's that is.

How did it change? He married a woman by the name of Heather Casper on that day. Join us in congratulating our webmaster on his new step in life's journey! Let us pray for this new married couple and may they be filled with God's grace to live out this commitment with fidelity and love.

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Fall Retreats

Ahh…fall. The leaves aren’t the only things changing; many youth groups will take their teens on fall retreats changing the hearts of the young participants bringing them in to a deeper stronger relationship with Christ.

Kendra Allenspach, Mary Queen of Peace says:
“While I was on retreat many things happened, but the one that stuck out to me and called to me was Eucharistic Adoration on Saturday night. I have been to Eucharistic adoration before, but nothing compared to this. Towards the end, the priest came around and brought Jesus to each of us- personally. He held the monstrance right in front of our faces. I could truly see God right in front of me. I know that everyone always tells you to not worry about everyone else in the room and just focus on God and Jesus, but we all know that most people are looking around the room to see what everyone else is doing. I know I do, and sometimes that prevents me from really having that one on one time with Jesus during Eucharistic Adoration. But that night on retreat, when the priest brought Jesus right in front of me. I felt him and figured out the role that is mine to play. I am supposed to bring Jesus to everyone I meet and "put him right in front of their faces." I need to share the love of Jesus and help others experience God in their lives. I figured out my role and now I need to help others discover theirs. “

Kristen Rosser shares how her experience changed her: "It all started when my friend made me go on this retreat. As the retreat was nearing, my friend that made me go couldn’t. I decided that I should still go. I only knew a couple of people, but once I got there I met more people. At the beginning there was a lot of dancing and singing-not really into that because I don’t go to Youth Group enough to be able to sing and dance with out song sheets. The first night we had Reconciliation. I always enjoy that because I get to let out all this built up stress and emotion to someone I trust. But even after letting out all this stuff I still wasn’t really into the retreat. I didn’t feel I deserved to be there. However, on Saturday night we had Adoration and it was the most powerful, moving, amazing thing I have experienced. The priest brought the Monstrance around to each and every one of us (I had never experienced that). I admit from the moment Adoration started to the moment the priest was praying over me, I wasn’t praying, I wasn’t thanking God, I don’t even remember thinking. But as the priest was leaving from me, I looked right into his eyes, and I saw Jesus. For the first time in a very long time I truly felt loved, especially from Jesus. Naturally because it was so powerful I started balling (not loudly though!). After Adoration was over, my friends were coming up to me and giving me hugs and they kept saying, “I love you”, “I love you”. Well every time someone would say that, I would start to cry again. I couldn’t help it. Because I haven’t felt that way in so long, when someone I barely knew said it, I believed them and I felt it too. I realized I was with people who loved Jesus and were open to new experiences and people. Of course from that point on I had a BLAST! I sang and danced to random parts of songs that I knew, I talked more, and I opened up to God more. It’s going to take awhile until I completely open up, but this was defiantly apart of the beginning…"

Kate Wiley from St. Clement of Rome says: "Fall Retreat was an amazing experience for me,
I love meeting new people, seeing old friends especially
the ones that come back from college. This retreat really
helped me grow in my faith!"

Grace Guyol, a sophomore at Villa Duchesne and Immacolata parishioner, enjoyed meeting teens from Pillar and St. Anselm at the retreat. But, beyond making new friends, she knew that there was a more important reason for attending the retreat – her Catholic faith. “I'm not sure how it affects me right now,” Guyol says, “but I know that it will affect me later.”

“This is what it's all about,” says Immacolata Youth Minister, Michael Miller. “As a parish family, we should strive to plant seeds of faith in the hearts of our young people... then pray that those seeds take root.”

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