- Kristin Womeldorf
SEEKing and FOCUSing on Christ
Mount St. Mary’s Fellowship of Catholic University Students hosted the annual SEEK Conference on campus within the parameters of COVID-19 precautions. The event ran from Feb. 4 to 7 and included a variety of activities including mass, prayer, guest speakers and small-group activities.
For the first time in SEEK history, students from across the world were connected virtually to conduct the conference in a safe environment. FOCUS member schools were allowed to host their own mini event on campus while following a set of safety guidelines from both FOCUS and the Center for Disease Control. These guidelines consisted of daily symptom self-assessments and social distancing and following the mask and hand-washing recommendations.
To make the experience as authentic as possible, all of the events were streamed live to the participants. The change made the experience more accessible to students geographically, but financially as well. Tickets were $50, which allowed the Mount’s Center for Campus Ministry to offer scholarships to those in financial need.
“The goal of SEEK is to evangelize Christianity and to reintroduce the religion to those who have strayed from their connection with God. It is also of interest to those who are new to the faith or who want to take their faith further,” stated Fr. Marty Moran, the chaplain of the university. He added that the Mount’s goal this year was to welcome people of different religions and cultures to the campus’ Catholic faith, “which is not something to be afraid of or intimidated by, but it should be intriguing!”
Each day started with Mass in the IC Chapel, a chance for attendees to open their hearts and dedicate some time to the Holy Spirit. From there, students met with their small groups in a classroom setting to get to know each other and chat about the topic of the day. Along with that, there were about two dozen guest speakers including theologians, priests and media personalities. One of the biggest highlights of the weekend was an exclusive, interactive performance by Christian recording artist Matt Maher.
“It was really eye-opening, not to mention how rewarding it felt to lead others closer to Christ. SEEK is something I would recommend to anyone, Catholic or not,” commented a first-time SEEK attendee and small-group leader Haley Buser (C’22).
For some, SEEK helps connect people to their faith or relight the fire in their hearts for God. For others, it is the first introduction to a church community. The topics discussed range from relationships and self-worth to atheism and belief, leaving everyone with something they can learn from or relate to. Many would agree that this was not your typical worship experience.
Next year’s event is set to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah from Dec. 30 to Jan. 3. More information can be found at www.seek.focus.org