By Maria Gursky, Face to Face Ministries
FacetoFace Ministries hosted its annual United Conference Oct. 29-30, 2022 at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon, with keynote speaker Sr. Helena Burns of the Daughters of St. Paul breaking open the teachings of St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body in an engaging and practical way.
The United Conference hit record-breaking numbers of 394 individuals gathered for a weekend of growing in faith and experiencing community. Highlights included adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, praise and worship, the keynote talks by Sr. Burns, and time for fellowship.
FacetoFace Ministries desires that youth across Western Canada find fulfillment in a life in Christ, and strives to provide encounters with Jesus Christ that inspire the response to become saints.
This year’s United Conference drew youth from the Diocese of Prince George, BC, from Clearwater Academy in Calgary, AB, and from Humboldt Collegiate Institute in Humboldt, SK as well as many more local families from Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary and beyond.
United is a chance for youth to come together from across Canada to be united and supported in living out their faith in today’s world. One participant shared that “it was so reassuring seeing how many people are just like me, a young Catholic looking to find community and learn about the faith.”
Many youth look forward to this annual conference as a chance to reconnect with friends made through other FacetoFace programs such as Ignite summer camps and the online WORD Bible Studies.
For many, the weekend was an enriching faith experience. FacetoFace works to foster encounters with Jesus Christ through offering the Sacrament of Reconciliation as well as creating a moment of encounter through Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
Worshipping God in a church with nearly 400 people sharing in Eucharistic Adoration is an incredibly inspiring and encouraging experience. Many participants shared that this time spent with Jesus was the highlight of the weekend.
“At adoration I really felt the love of God touch me and the atmosphere was amazing,” said one participant.
Sr. Helena Burns gave three keynote sessions about Theology of the Body: an introduction to the teaching, a reflection about how God is the only One who can truly satisfy our desires, and a third talk about the masculine and feminine genius.
Many participants commented that Sr. Helena’s words were encouraging, giving them a new perspective, and deepening their faith. One participant shared: “The talks given set a fire within my heart to live a better life through the teachings of the Catholic Church and Theology of the Body.”
FacetoFace was blessed to welcome in other local speakers for breakout session talks in the afternoon, including Ken and Janelle Yasinski, Arnel Vicente, Matthew Courchene and Fr. Warren Dungen. The wisdom, encouragement, and practical suggestions shared in the breakout sessions were well received by participants.
The annual United Conference is also an opportunity for collaboration with other youth and young adult programs in our province and beyond, including NET Ministries of Canada, Newman Theological College, and St. Therese Institute of Faith and Mission. Having these organizations present at the Conference is beneficial for the youth attending – exposing them to different options available while providing a fantastic advertising opportunity for the organizations!
Bishop Mark Hagemoen presided over Sunday mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Family Oct. 30, addressing the United Conference participants who joined the parishioners and encouraging the youth to continue living out their faith.
All glory to God for a successful United Conference!
For more information about the mission and work of FacetoFace Ministries, visit the website at f2f.ca.
Live-stream video of Sunday Mass with Bishop Hagemoen during United: