SEEK and— MATTHEW 7:7
In 2010, as a sophomore at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I let the typical college experience weaken my faith. God had been stirring my heart to come back to Him. At the invitation of a friend, I attended my first FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) conference, which spurred a desire to return to Him and the Catholic Church. The next year I was able to give Him even more of my heart at that year’s annual FOCUS conference. At the 2012 FOCUS event, I learned how to share the love I had been given with others.
At that event, Jesus placed a desire on my heart to be a FOCUS missionary after college and continue to share the good news with college students. FOCUS is a Catholic apostolate whose mission is to share the hope and joy of the Gospel with the world. FOCUS missionaries encounter people in friendship, invite them into a personal relationship with Christ and accompany them as they pursue lives of virtue and excellence.
As a FOCUS campus missionary, I saw how God transformed many lives through FOCUS national conferences, now called SEEK. Afterward, I had students tackle me and thank me for convincing them to come. They are still devout Catholics to this day. The eyes of many students were opened to God’s will for their lives – and for the first time they were able to trust Him to take control. I heard students cry as they returned to the confessional after a decade and tell Him everything to be embraced once again by the mercy of the Father.
After my time as a campus missionary, I moved to Denver to work for FOCUS in the Alumni department. The main goal with every SEEK event is to create a space for alumni, parishioners, pastors and post-college participants to encounter Christ more deeply.
3 Things SEEK Participant Leave With (No Matter Their Age!)
- HOPE: Every year at the national events, I’ve watched parishoners cry when they saw the hundreds of priests walk in for Mass at SEEK. Conference attendees consistently tell me how the presence of thousands of college students gave them hope for the future of the Church. They were inspired by the talks and fellow parishioners – recognizing that this hope doesn’t end at the college campus.
- RENEWED: They were renewed and returned to parishes to share how others could also encounter Christ through a deeper commitment to Him.
- REMINDED: Most importantly, they were reminded that they were not alone in the walk with Christ.
I am now a FOCUS alumna working at Our Lady of the Valley in Windsor, Colorado. We are hosting SEEK22 Feb. 4-6 along with people all over the world who will gather in homes, parishes and on campuses to give God the space to work in their hearts. It’s been easy to plan and promote the event with the help of the SEEK Hosting Resources for parishes. Many have already signed up and are looking forward to the fellowship and small group discussions. Several have said a child, grandchild, or friend attended in the past, and now it’s their turn to experience it all!
As an event centered on the crux of the Gospel, the heart of SEEK will feature prayer, adoration, Scripture and the sacraments and our priests are so excited to make the weekend come alive by prioritizing Mass, Confession and adoration. In these sacraments and sacred spaces the real encounter occurs by sitting with Jesus and processing the truths spoken by Fr. Mike Schmitz, Jason Evert, Lila Rosa, Fr. Josh Johnson, Dr. Edward Sri, Sr. Miriam James Heidland, SOLT, and many more speakers.
SEEK22 will be my 13th FOCUS Conference. I am excited for the weekend, but I’m even more excited to witness what comes after the weekend. I can’t wait to see how our parishioners allow Christ to make Himself known in their hearts, so that they may make Him known in the hearts of others. Saints are made through changed hearts – and these hearts will transform parishes into homes for missionary disciples.
SEEK22 – SEEK and you will find
Last year SEEK brought together 27,000 people in 20 countries from 6 continents. SEEK is not just for college students anymore. It’s for you, your neighbor, your co-worker, your clergy and your friends. If you want to grow in a deeper relationship with Christ please accept this invitation to come along for the journey and register for SEEK22. Contact your local parishes to see if a group is participating – or host a small group in your home. If you live near one of the locations at which FOCUS parish missionaries, contact them to participate in a small group event, which may be held later in February. However your heart is moved – take the next step to seek and find Him this year.
This article was written by FOCUS alumna Kelsey Ludvik. Kelsey is currently the Events and Communications Coordinator at Our Lady of the Valley in Windsor, Colorado.