VBS 2014 at SMM

My Steubenville South Experience

 – Dominic Jasso

Greetings, my name is Dominic Jasso, I am eighteen years old, and I will begin attending Creighton University this fall. I am writing this testimonial about our church’s trip to the Steubenville South Youth Conference. This is one of 20 Steubenville conferences held around the nation each summer, and our parish took 13 high school students two weekends ago June 20th-22nd. First of all, on behalf of all who attended, I would like to sincerely thank all the parishioners who supported us financially and in prayer. This once in a lifetime experience would not have been possible without your support.  I would like to convey to you in my own words just how much this experience meant to me, and all who were able to attend.

               I think I speak for most teenagers when I say that on a retreat in the summer is not always a top priority. I recently went to Steubenville South with my High School Ministry VERITAS. If I am honest, I originally went on the trip to please my mom and make her happy, but I kept an open mind and heart and I became happy. This retreat really opened my eyes to the world we live in and I grew in my relationship with God. This was the second retreat that I have ever been on, but I had no idea how the weekend was going to go. 

Friday afternoon my youth group and I headed out to Alexandria, which was fun because my car got to play games and get to know each other the entire ride down. We began Steubenville with a night session and adoration followed by a period of time of small group talks. The night was ok, but there was an awkward feeling for most of the teens since we still didn’t know each other deeply yet. The next morning we woke up extra early because we decided as a group we were going to go to the sacrament of reconciliation. I’m so glad that we did, because afterwards I felt good and it was the start to an amazing day. The day began with an opening talk from our host Chris Stefanick, followed by mass and 2 workshops with lunch in between. After lunch Catholic speaker and Hip-Hop entertainer Paul J. Kim had a little concert for the teens just to wake everyone up from all the talking that had been going on. It was a fun time, but the best part of the day was yet to come.

Around 7:30 the doors to the auditorium opened and 3000 catholic teenagers poured through the doors with such an incredible energy. Our youth group started a wave, kids were taking selfies with each other, people were dancing, and somehow in the midst of all the craziness I met my cousin from San Antonio. Everyone settled down once the night talk began, which was followed by the most intense Eucharistic Adoration I have ever been apart of. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling to you other than amazing. That night I didn’t just grow closer to God but, the other six guys that I went on the retreat with. We had the deepest talk with everyone sharing stories and problems. The talk brought us all so much closer and I find it sad that I just now met most of them and will be leaving them in August. I know that I share a special bond with them and will stay in contact but, at that moment during our deep talk, I was so glad that my mom sent me on the retreat. I would have never met such an amazing group of guys. The last day we packed up our bags went to the conference center and we celebrated a mass followed with closing remarks from our speakers that weekend. The last day was bitter sweet I left the conference center that afternoon with a closer relationship with God and a special bond between the guys I met on the retreat.

Again, thank you so much for everyone who supported out trip and made this possible. I pray that more teens from our church will get to experience what I did that weekend in years to come. God Bless.

Dominic Jasso



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