Young people extend their hands towards the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament as it is brought through the assembly. Pilot photo/Mark Labbe
LOWELL -- This is the eighth year in a row Brittany Burkins has attended Life Teen's annual Steubenville East Conference, and for her, it's as much a family affair as it is a time to grow closer to Jesus.
"My mom chaperones the St. Cecilia's (Wilbraham) Youth Group, and my brother is kind of the leader. And my cousin is here, too, on the trip," she said, laughing.
Burkins, 22, said she used to help lead the youth group when she was a teenager, but now volunteers her time to work as security for the weekend event, which ran from Friday evening July 15 to Sunday afternoon July 17 at the University of Massachusetts Lowell's Tsongas Center.
I've participated "from the time I was going into my sophomore year of high school... The conference really impacted me in a positive way, and so I was really excited to give back to a conference that did so much for me, so I started volunteering as soon as I could," she said.
"This is my fourth year volunteering, my eighth year at the conference overall," she noted.
One of five Steubenville Youth Conferences held annually by Life Teen around the United States, Steubenville East is centered on providing teens and youth groups with an opportunity to meet other Catholics, all while attending numerous workshops, prayer sessions, talks, and music designed to teach about the Gospel's message and strengthen the youths' bonds with Jesus.