“If you are what you should be, you will set the world ablaze.” – St. Catherine of Siena
For the past week, I had the privilege of joining over 6,000 other students at SEEK Conference 2013. This was a Catholic conference for college students striving to grow in their faith and share it, especially on the college campus. Has anything even remotely similar ever happened in America? Of course, there was World Youth Day in Denver in 1993 with about 500,000 participants: that’s what happens when the pope shows up. But what is so special about this conference is that it is self-sustaining and growing, right here in America. This isn’t just a one time thing, but a movement of people committing themselves to living for Jesus. In 1998, when FOCUS was founded, the “conference” had only 20 people. The next year there were 70. Then 120. And so on. In my years in college I saw the national conference in 2010 with 4,000 people grow to 6,000 people this year. It got to the point where for the keynote addresses, we had to split ourselves between two different rooms, where the speaker was in one room, and the other room watched on the projection screens.
Some of my favorite parts:
- Chris Stefanick was an excellent emcee. My favorite moment was the song he wrote for his daughter’s potential boyfriend..
- All of the students from non-focus campuses. They have it much harder that we do at focus campuses, so I was really happy that I’m joining the movement as a missionary so that more students will have a solid Catholic community to back them.
- It was only sunny one day in Orlando, but we made the most of it, playing this massive game of “keep the beach ball up out of the water” and then a whirlpool in this giant pool!
- The talk by Dr. Reyes blew me away, on Jesus’ question to us all: “Who do you say that I am?” It was very challenging for me and all of us men as he encouraged us all to live completely for Jesus in lives of sacrifice.
- Fr. Mike Schmitz sharing with the eager youth the truth about the beauty of sexuality in his theology of the body talk. The youth who are searching are tired of the lies fed to them by the government and media.
- During adoration, I was praying with my face on the ground for a while, when all of a sudden some girl tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, “Jesus is coming!” Only to a Catholic would this make perfect sense, I looked up to realize that the procession of the Blessed Sacrament was coming up right behind me. How beautiful it is to know that Jesus has never left us, as He promised in Matthew 28:20.
- Seeing lives changed by their encounter with Jesus over this conference, especially with fallen-away Catholics finding their faith again. Lots more guys to get involved in a bible study! 🙂
“Change the world not only in what you do but who you are.” -Chris Stefanick