DENVER, Colo., — Nearly 13,000 attendees, most of them college students, charged up their faith at SEEK2017, January 3 – 7, in San Antonio, Texas. Representatives from the Diocese of Jackson included students from the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State as well as other campus ministry leaders. The biennial event, hosted by the Fellowship of Cath
olic University Students (FOCUS), featured the theme “What Moves You.” Throughout the conference, attendees learned to see the truth of how God seeks them with sacrificial love and invites them to encounter Him with their whole hearts.
Chicago natives Kelley, Lauren and Maggie Hartman experienced SEEK2017 in different ways. It was the first national FOCUS conference for each of these three sisters. Maggie, a senior at Harvard University studying pre-med and religion who will be a FOCUS missionary after graduation, said, “You can see Christ reflected in each person and how He desires to meet each of us individually.”
Her twin sisters Kelley and Lauren are freshman at University of South Alabama. Kelley added, “this has shown me there are 13,000 people with me with the same beliefs and goals as I have.” Lauren reflected, “It’s been life-changing to be a part of something larger and more powerful than I ever thought. I’m excited to go back to college to share my faith with others.”
Nearly 53,000 people have attended FOCUS events since the inaugural National Conference held in 1999, where 25 students came together to pray, deepen their Catholic faith and learn how to share Christ with others. SEEK2017 attendees came from more than 500 college campuses, and a few dozen international attendees hailed from several other countries. The largest campus contingent was from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with nearly 400 registrants.
“Our hope for SEEK2017 is that God will light a fire in the hearts of young leaders,” said Curtis Martin, CEO and founder of FOCUS. “Then as we return to our campuses all over the country, we can encourage one another to live as world-changers.”
More than 300 priests concelebrated daily Mass. Adoration and confession throughout the event provided many opportunities for reflection and prayer. The Holy Spirit opened many hearts on Thursday night, with adoration in the main hall. That evening alone, more than 4,000 people went to confession. Over the course of the event, more than 6,000 confessed their sins to priests during the sacrament of reconciliation.
“I hope this week at SEEK2017 young adults experienced the Lord seeking each of them in a unique way,” said Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. “When people experience that God is seeking them, they’ll be more likely to seek Him as well.”
Many of the talks will be available in a few weeks for digital download at www.shopfocus.org.
(Story and photos provided by Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS))