Bishop, students join nearly 10,000 at conference
NASHVILLE (SNR) – Bishop James Conley and hundreds of young people from the Diocese of Lincoln joined more than 9,000 students from across the country attending “SEEK2015,” a five-day event for “college students on a journey.”
Organizers called SEEK “a place where we can come together to take on some of life’s bigger questions and, like guides along the way, learn from one another where wisdom and experience lead.”
Presented by FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, SEEK2015 was held in Nashville Jan. 1-5 and included Mass, confessions, Eucharistic processions and more, as well as 60 talks from well-known speakers such as Curtis Martin, Matt Fradd, Helen Alvaré, Dr. Edward Sri, Leah Darrow and Jennifer Fulwiler. Chris Stefanick of Real Life Catholic was emcee.
“It was incredible to be at SEEK 2015 with my niece Kaitlyn, with hundreds of students from Nebraska, and with nearly 10,000 students from across the country,” Bishop Conley said. “It was especially powerful to pray together, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, and to witness the movement of the Holy Spirit in the lives of students and leaders.”
Father Benjamin Holdren, assistant pastor at the St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center in Lincoln, agreed.
“I had the privilege of carrying our Lord among 10,000 college students in the Eucharistic procession in Nashville,” he said. “Ten thousand students in Adoration of the Son of God. It felt to me like a foreshadowing of walking through the City of God in heaven. What amazing fruit of the labors of FOCUS missionaries across the 100 college campuses.”
Student James Verhoeff said he could feel the presence of God “so clearly when thousands of people gather to worship and adore Him.”
He said three themes were continually on his mind during the conference: Living out Catholicism leads to abundant life; Prayer is vital to a relationship with God; and evangelization.
“Often times, Catholicism can get stereotyped for being all about rules,” he said, “but when you live according to God’s will, specifically all the truths of Catholicism, it truly sets you free – freedom of a whole new level.”
Father Holdren is excited about watching this type of enthusiasm spread.
“I can’t say enough about the faithfulness of our FOCUS missionaries in Lincoln and across the country,” he said, “and of the hope they are bringing to the future of the Church. It will be a fun semester as we see the seeds planted within the hearts and minds of our students at Seek continue to grow and develop and lead to greater friendship with Christ and the spread of the Gospel on campus.”
“In God’s Providence, abundant blessings will come forth from SEEK for the whole Church, and for the students from our diocese who traveled there,” Bishop Conley said. “I can’t wait for SEEK 2017!”