By Adelaide Quickfall, Face to Face Ministries
FacetoFace Ministries hosted its annual United Conference Oct. 28-29, 2023, at the Cathedral of the Holy Family in Saskatoon, with keynote speaker Dan DeMatte, Co-Founder of Damascus Ministries who passionately shared about the Holy Spirit and our call to share God’s love and mission to others.
The United Conference brought together 352 individuals for a weekend of growing in faith and experiencing community.
Highlights included adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, praise and worship, keynote talks by Dan DeMatte, outstanding games, and structured time for fellowship and community. As a response to feedback from last year, United Conference was made longer by adding in a new session on Sunday, giving time to provide more excellent content and surprises that United participants look forward to.
FacetoFace Ministries’ goal is that youth across Western Canada find fulfillment in a life in Christ and strives to provide encounters with Jesus Christ that inspire the response of a commitment to become saints.
This year’s United Conference drew participants from four provinces with groups attending from the Diocese of Prince George, BC, from Humboldt Collegiate Institute in Humboldt, SK, from St. Therese Institute of Faith and Mission in Bruno, SK, as well as many more participants and families from Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg and beyond.
For many youth participants, this annual conference is a chance for them to reconnect with other Catholic friends amidst the business of a distraction-packed school year. They come to United to see friends made through other FacetoFace programs such as Ignite summer camps and online events such as E3 Evenings and the WORD Bible Studies.
For many, the weekend continues to be a deep and enriching faith experience. FacetoFace works to foster encounters with Jesus Christ through offering the Sacrament of Reconciliation and creating a moment of encounter through Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
This year’s conference featured perpetual adoration all day Saturday in the Queen of Peace Chapel followed by a whole conference Adoration on Saturday evening. Not only were participants blessed to hear music from the United Band during adoration, but also sacred music sung by a traditional choir.
Worshipping God in a church with 350 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.
“I’m just so thankful for the opportunity to sit in the Lord’s presence completely surrounded by other people my age who also love their faith and love God,” said one participant.
This year saw the return of the United Carnival after a four-year gap since the last one in 2019. The Carnival was set up as a surprise for the participants to enjoy after Saturday evening adoration. It featured live music, a carnival-themed concession, 17 booths with tickets and prizes and many more surprises packed into an evening of fun.
Every participant, youth or adult, had an incredible time going from booth to booth, winning the games and creating lasting memories with each other.
Dan DeMatte gave three keynote sessions about the Holy Spirit: The first on the Holy Spirit living in us, the second on how He transforms our hearts, and the third on our calling to share God’s Love and Truth to all the nations. Conference participants said that they found Dan’s talks to be both exciting and inspiring.
FacetoFace was blessed to welcome in other local speakers for breakout session talks on Saturday afternoon, including Hudson Byblow, Gabe Dipple, Derek Boldt, Rita Taylor, and Fr. Dan Yasinski. Their joy, wisdom and authenticity were greatly appreciated by all those who attended their talks. It is through all these speakers that a wide range of relevant Catholic topics were covered at this year’s conference.
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, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom 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 these organizations!
United was blessed to welcome 11 clergy and religious. Bishop Mark Hagemoen along with nine diocesan priests and Sister April Mireau of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary all joyfully attended the conference and provided sacraments, prayers or witness to beautiful religious lives.
Bishop Mark Hagemoen presided over Sunday mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Family on Oct. 29, addressing the United Conference participants who joined the parishioners and encouraging the youth to continue living out their faith.
Bishop Mark Hagemoen homily:
All glory to God for a rapidly growing and thriving United Conference!
Mark your calendars for United Conference 2024 – October 26-27, 2024. Stay tuned for more details and registration in Spring 2024.
For more information about the mission and work of FacetoFace Ministries, visit the website at f2f.ca.