May 01, 2013 STEUBENVILLE, OHIO -- Nearly 40,000 youth will gather at 18 conferences in 11 states and Canada this summer to grow in the joy of their Catholic faith.Under the theme “Chosen,” Steubenville Youth Conferences will lead teens into a dynamic weekend of prayer, Mass, music, preaching, and talks based on 1 John 4:19: “We love because He first loved us.”The conferences are an outreach of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and are co-sponsored by local bishops, youth organizations, and diocesan offices to create a one-of-a-kind weekend immersion into the Catholic faith for teens.Matt Maher, a nationally acclaimed Catholic singer-songwriter and top-tier Billboard recording artist, will speak and perform at three of the conferences this summer. Maher says the conferences bring the charism and legacy of St. Francis of Assisi to the youth who attend.“It’s a legacy of the Gospel … of caring for those in need, and a legacy of love and openness to the Holy Spirit.”Maher says the liturgies are “dynamic (and) Spirit-filled, but (also) reverent and orthodox.” The teens become “so focused, and so present as if their very lives depended on it,” he says.“God really showed me that he was here and he was real” at the 2012 conference Savannah attended. “Ever since then, I’ve been so excited about growing deeper in the faith, and going to Mass and confession. The conferences really opened me up to that.”Popular conference speaker Father Michael Schmitz of the Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota, says the youth see the Mass in a new way at the conferences.“If you and I are going to be lovers of God,” he said during a homily at last summer’s Steubenville East Conference, “what that means is we’re going to become people of worship. God wants to be worshipped in the Eucharist, and wants us to live freedom in the Mass.”The conferences center on the sacraments and Catholic teachings. Teens attend Mass and experience Christ in eucharistic adoration, and have multiple opportunities to receive the sacrament of reconciliation. Renowned youth speakers give talks on chastity and living the Catholic faith at home and at school, and equip teens with the tools they need to live out their faith daily.The first summer youth conference was held under a tent on the Franciscan University campus in 1976. Since then, they have expanded to 13 additional cities across the United States, and in Nova Scotia, Canada. The locations and dates of the summer conferences are as follows:June 14-16:Steubenville Main Campus I – Steubenville, OHSteubenville on the Bayou – Houma, LAJune 21-23:Steubenville Main Campus 2 – Steubenville, OH, SOLD OUTSteubenville South – Alexandria, LA, SOLD OUTSteubenville Florida – Orlando, FLSteubenville of the Rockies – Denver, CO, SOLD OUTJune 28-30:Steubenville Main Campus 3 – Steubenville, OH, SOLD OUTJuly 12-14:Steubenville Main Campus 4 – Steubenville, OH, SOLD OUTSteubenville St. Louis Mid-America I – Springfield, MO, SOLD OUTSteubenville North Rochester – Rochester, MNSteubenville West – Tucson, AZJuly 19-21:Steubenville St. Louis Mid-America 2 – Springfield, MOSteubenville Atlanta – Atlanta, GASteubenville East – Kingston, RI, SOLD OUTJuly 26-28:Steubenville Northwest – Spokane, WASteubenville San Diego – San Diego, CASteubenville North St. Paul – St. Paul, MNAugust 2-4:Steubenville Atlantic – Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada For more information, please visit www.Steubenville.org.