A matter of faith: Hundreds gather for Catholic youth conference in Houma
Published: Sunday, June 26, 2016
While the Mannings held one camp in Thibodaux, God held his own in Houma.
The Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux's 11th annual Steubenville on the Bayou Catholic Youth Conference drew thousands of teenagers from such states as Illinois, Texas, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama with chaperones to listen to speakers and partake in worship music and praise sessions.
Dressed in reds, pinks, yellow and greens, nearly 2,000 teenagers, staff and volunteer strode into the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center today for the conference's third and final day.
The conference is comprised of a series of religious services, youth entertainment and seminars meant to reinforce the teachings of the church. For example, separate meetings for young men and women are held to discuss virtue and chastity.
This morning, a group of the teenagers was brought on stage to tell a personal story about their own faith. Eighteen-year-old Paul Becker from Omaha, Neb., said he came to a crossroads with his religion about three years ago when his best friend started to question his Catholic beliefs in a series of texts.
“I just sat there, I had no idea what to do,” Becker told the audience. “What had once been an amazing relationship, was now ripping into my heart.”
That conversation drove Paul to dive deeper into his faith.
“I fell in love with it,” he said.
Houma hosts one of 20 Catholic youth conferences throughout North America, co-sponsored by Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio.
Combined, the conferences draw about 38,000 participants each year, event officials said.