Young adults SEEK, find peace in Christ

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - Updated: 9:00 am

By MATTHEW PEASLEE Associate Editor

The Fellowship of Catholic University Students invited teenagers and young adults to “encounter something more” at the biannual SEEK conference in Indianapolis. From Jan. 3-7, more than 17,000 attendees, including several from the Diocese of Pittsburgh, attended Masses, Eucharistic adoration and confession, listened to nationally-renowned speakers and deepened their faith in Jesus.

As today's students deal with temptations from many different angles, SEEK allowed the students to focus on the one voice that matters — God.

“It was a time to put aside all other distractions and find encouragement and wisdom that can last us in college and the rest of our lives,” said Marybeth Cocchi, a senior nursing student at Waynesburg University.

She was one of 15 students who traveled to Indianapolis with Father Michael Conway, chaplain at California University, Washington & Jefferson College and Waynesburg, and Meghan Larson-Reidy, campus minister at the three schools. A student from Xavier University in Cincinnati and West Virginia University also joined their group. Father Conway recently assumed the chaplain role, along with being a part-time senior parochial vicar for the Western Washington County grouping. It was the first time he had been to a SEEK conference, having just heard about it during the fall semester.

“It was a very powerful experience,” he said. “What I think was most edifying for the students was the sense of community that the conference provided. Many times in college it can feel like no one shares your faith or your values; this conference united 17,000 students who share those things.”

SEEKofferedsessionstailored to college students, but also a lifelong mission track designed to provide vision, training and resources for those striving to be missionary disciples in the family, parish and workplace, and a campus ministry track to connect those interested in creating dynamic and fruitful college campus ministries.

Father Conway said keynote talks by Leah Darrow, Chris Stefanick and Dr. Jonathan Reyes resonated with him the most. He attended several sessions that spoke to the need to identify, call forth, and then train and equip students to do the work of evangelization on campus. He also appreciated the time to connect and network with other campus ministers and chaplains, as well as some men he met in the seminary whom he hadn't seen in several years. The college students had the opportunity to meet fellow Catholics from around the country.

“I enjoyed the enthusiasm everyone displayed,” said Taylor Kodric, a senior psychology major at Cal U. “Our struggles and challenges unite all of us, and I left SEEK feeling renewed as a child of God. I am very grateful for the experience.”

FOCUS, which presents the event, is a Catholic outreach organization whose mission is to share the Gospel with the world. FOCUS missionaries invite students and parishioners into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and accompany them as they pursue lives of virtue and excellence.

“I definitely feel even more energized in the faith,” said Adam Boyle, a parishioner at SS. John and Paul Parish in Franklin Park/Marshall Township and a sophomore theology major at Franciscan University of Steubenville, which sent nearly 100 students to SEEK. “It was so encouraging to look around and see thousands of other young adults who are also seeking the Lord.”

FOCUS is preparing for another conference for college students.The SLS Leadership Summit is set for Dec. 30-Jan. 3, 2020, in Phoenix, Arizona, to give attendees training and resources to become disciple-makers and confident leaders.

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