Chris Stefanick spoke to more than one thousand youth on Feb. 16 at St. Francis Xavier Church in Mississauga, Ont. This is the first year Stefanick has brought the Reboot! Live! youth conference tour to Canadian parishes Photo by Alister Vaz

Canadian youth, parishes ‘Reboot!’ their faith

By  Alister Vaz, Youth Speak News Special
  • February 26, 2016

It all started with a selfie.

While at the Steubenville Toronto youth conference last July, a few of the youth from St. Francis Xavier parish asked the host, Chris Stefanick, to take a selfie with them.

They recognized Stefanick as the creator of the Chosen program which the youth had used to prepare themselves as candidates for the Sacrament of Confirmation. When Stefanick heard this, he told them he wanted to hold “Reboot! Live!” at their parish.

Six months later, the plan became reality. On Feb. 16, St. Francis Xavier became the first Canadian parish to host Stefanick’s “Reboot! Live!” youth conference. A sold-out crowd of more than a thousand youth from across southern Ontario attended the event.

“It’s very exciting to be Catholic, especially at this time,” said David Patterson, youth minister at St. Francis Xavier parish. “The testimonials of people that have gone for this event are just really inspiring… so many people have converted and returned to the Church after listening to Chris.”

As the name of the event suggests, the purpose of “Reboot! Live!” is to get Catholics to take some time to pause and reboot their lives. The main theme of the evening was God’s great love for us. Stefanick discussed how people in North America have “got used to God’s love” and have forgotten the sacrifice that God made for mankind.

“No other love can fully satisfy us,” he said. “The absence of God’s love in our lives has created this crisis in identity. We don’t know who we are. We base our identity on things like money and our net worth. Instead, we are called to be reminders of God’s love, saints.”

The second half of the evening consisted of Stefanick providing everyone with practical tips for discipleship on a daily basis. These tips sound easy to follow, but require willpower to actually implement.

Stefanick explained the importance of unplugging devices and staying away from technology during meals, as well as on Sunday. He told the youth to spend that time with family and God instead.

The evening was inspirational and acted as a reminder to everyone of God’s deep love for us. Stefanick made everyone laugh, but more importantly he was able to get people to reflect on their own lives.

The event was very successful with a high turnout, and the credit for this success should not only go to Stefanick, but also to the St. Francis Xavier team that organized the event. Patterson, as well as the youth of the parish, worked tirelessly to make the evening possible and to ensure that everything ran smoothly.

When asked about what he thought about the event, Yohan Roche, 17, said, “The evening was an inspirational experience that brought my full family together. Chris did an awesome job in connecting with us and he provided us with simple ways of making the faith a part of our daily lives.”

The “Reboot! Live!” conference was also held at St. Patrick’s Church in Hamilton on Feb. 17.

Stefanick will be back in Canada on June 8 at St. Mary Immaculate in Richmond Hill.

Information about future events and how to purchase tickets can be found on the Real Life Catholic web site, reallifecatholic.com.

(Vaz, 18, is a Grade 12 student at Father Michael Goetz Secondary School in Mississauga, Ont.)

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