featured image

Amanda Lawrence shares highlights from a conversation with her teen after he attended a weekend retreat.  

My son recently attended the YES! Retreat—a three-day, two-night prayer retreat for our diocese’s post-Confirmation youth, hosted at La Salette in Attleboro, Massachusetts.  

The weekend retreat provided its high school attendees with a spiritual environment that offered them countless opportunities to say YES to the Lord’s call of discipleship. Volunteer staff encouraged the diocese’s youth to discover and utilize the gifts of the Spirit while growing in confidence and seeking to further their religious education. Through powerful talks, testimonies, activities, fellowship, small group discussions, reconciliation, and compelling, God-honoring worship, staff encouraged the youth toward an initial or more profound conversion.  

I signed my teenager up to address the age-old observation that “the Church doesn’t do enough for her youth.” He came home fired up on faith and even agreed to participate in my exit interview.  

Below is what I got out of him about it.  

Me: What was YES 37 all about? 

Teen: Prayer. So much prayer. Lots and lots of prayer. Basically, the whole retreat was team-building activities and prayers.  

Me: What were some of the activities? 

Teen: There were a lot. First, every group had to pick a name and collage a glass jug with stuff cut from old magazines. When we finished, we added a red candle. The staff gave us a shrine tour; I climbed the Holy Stairs on my knees and prayed on each step. Another activity involved hammering cloth into a wooden cross. Oh, and our team leaders assigned group skits. Everyone acted out parts of the Bible. My group had Jesus healing the bleeding woman.  

Me: What was one thing you disliked about the retreat? 

Teen: The mandatory midnight bedtime. Everyone was exhausted way before that.  

Me: That aside, what was your favorite part of the Yes! Retreat? 

Teen: The whole thing. There were so many good parts that I couldn’t pick one; it all helped me grow spiritually.  

Me: What’s next? Do they have any plans for the future? 

Teen: Yeah, we’re having a reunion dinner in a month. And they mentioned something about a summer retreat at some university in Ohio. I don’t mind the 10-hour bus ride. I want to go. 




Shortly after our conversation, I learned that the director of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Fall River—my diocese—is on the Ministry Team for the abovementioned conference! That exciting news cemented my support.  

The Franciscan University of Steubenville will host four on-campus youth conferences this summer, with sixteen additional conferences held regionally across North America. These Catholic retreats offer high schoolers multiple opportunities for life-changing encounters with Jesus Christ! 

If you are interested in this conference for your teen, visit Steubenville Youth Conferences to find a location and learn more. 

Copyright 2023 Amanda Lawrence
Images: Canva