Our History

In 1976, Franciscan University of Steubenville hosted its first youth conference, with over 1,000 youth and young adults in attendance. The conferences grew in number so much that Franciscan University teamed up with the Diocese of Alexandria, Louisiana in 1995 to host its first off-campus conference. Since then, the Steubenville South High School Youth Conference has evolved much throughout the past 25 years. Based on Catholic teaching, Scripture, and Sacraments, the conference weekend combines talks from gifted speakers, praise and worship, time for prayer and friendship, and anointed liturgies.

1976 | The first youth conference – called the national Catholic Charismatic Conference for Young People – is held on the campus of the College of Steubenville. Over 1,000 young people from the United States and Canada travel to the hilltop campus.

1977 – 1985 | Attendance swells each year to finally exceed 3,100. Many young people make personal commitments to Christ through the encouragement of speakers such as Mother Angelica, and musicians such as Amy Grant.

1986 | The Young People’s Conference splits in two. The Franciscan University Youth Conference draws 2,300 youth. The Young Adults Conference (for college age and older) draws over 1,000.

1987 – 1992 | The youth keep coming! With conference themes such as “Running the Race,” “Pure in Heart,” and “Beyond Your Wildest Dream,” the hilltop conference tent expands, larger sleeping tents are added, and confession lines grow.

1993 | World Youth Day in Denver, CO, with Pope John Paul II draws a half-million youth and re-ignites a spiritual fire among young people across the United States and Canada.

1994 | Two Franciscan University Youth Conferences are offered back-to-back in Steubenville with over 5,000 youth in attendance.

1995 – 1996 | Two sold out youth conferences are held in Steubenville – “Blaze a Trail to Heaven.” As well, the Diocese of Alexandria invites the Franciscan University Youth Conferences down South. This is the first time a youth conference is held off-campus, and it is met with great success! “Steubenville South” is born, and takes off in Alexandria, LA under the leadership of Bishop Sam Jacobs.

1997 | Over 12,000 youth “Behold the Lamb!” at six conferences in four locations: Steubenville, OH (three conferences), Steubenville South in Alexandria, LA; Steubenville Easter in Attleboro, Massachusetts; and Steubenville West in Phoenix, Arizona.

1998 | “Steubenville Atlanta” in Atlanta, GA and “Steubenville of the Rockies” in Denver, CO are added to the other regional conference sites for a total of nine conferences in six locations. Over 18,000 youth get “Out of the Jungle – Into Life in the Holy Spirit!”

1999 | With the addition of “Steubenville St. Louis” in St. Louis, Missouri, this summer is the largest ever! We’ve closed the millennium by “Goin’ Home to My Father’s House” with over 21,000 teens across North America.

2000 | The Great Jubilee Year! The new millennium arrives and the whole Church celebrates the Jubilee! With ten conferences and a pilgrimage to Rome for World Youth Day, over 25,000 teens join us for a “Taste of Heaven” and the renewal of joy, hope, and salvation.

2001 | We got back to the basics this summer, proclaiming “God – There is no Other!” to over 26,500 teens. “Steubenville North” in the Twin Cities joined ten other conferences to make this a year of miracles and a testimony to God’s awesome power!

2002 | “Set Free!” At twelve conferences, over 26,000 teens were rocked by the reality of true freedom in Christ. Along with a powerful pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Toronto, Canada, this summer brought a new vision of Christ’s radical truth and limitless love.

2003 | “Just Live it!” Claiming radical life in Christ, 30,000 teens joined at Franciscan University Youth Conferences across the country. “Steubenville San Diego” joined us this summer with almost 3,000 participants to celebrate God’s call to abundant life.

2004 | “Rise Up: A Catholic Revolution!” Over 30,000 youth responded to the call to “Rise Up” at thirteen Franciscan University Youth Conferences across the country. “Steubenville Northwest” was born this year in Olympia, Washington.

2005 | The Year of the Eucharist! More than 30,000 youth “Experience the Glory!” at a Franciscan University of Steubenville Youth Conference. The summer conference season is followed by a pilgrimage to Cologne, Germany for World Youth Day with our new pope, Pope Benedict XVI. Franciscan University of Steubenville hosts its first Youth Ministers’ Retreat and its first off-campus Going Deeper Retreat.

2006 | “Unchanging!” Two new conferences are added to this summer’s schedule: “Steubenville on the Bayou,” and “Steubenville St. Louis Mid-America 2.” In the spring, the Youth Outreach Office hosted its first ever Jr. High Ministry Event!

2007 – 2010 | Three new conferences were added in Canada, Rochester, and Florida, and one was re-started in Washington State. Teens across the country and Canada attended the “All Access,” “Witness,” “Above All,” and “The Word Became Flesh” conferences.

2013 | After years of serving youth at the Rapides Parish Coliseum, the Steubenville South Conference moved to the Randolph Riverfront Center in Downtown Alexandria.

2019 | Steubenville South celebrated 25 years of serving youth and adults!

2020 | Steubenville Youth Conferences across the country were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a livestreamed conference weekend was offered through Franciscan University and the Steubenville Florida office.

2022 | The Diocese of Alexandria and Steubenville South Conference office staff look forward to serving the youth and adults in our region for years to come!