I have been missing out on something big by not attending the Fellowship of Catholic University Student (FOCUS) Ministries SEEK and SLS Conferences!
After this past week’s SLS20 Conference, if I could tell every college student to become a FOCUS Missionary, I would. If I could tell every adult I know to sign up for next year’s SEEK Conference, I would.
The organization and their missionaries and benefactors sincerity and commitment to the Gospel is authentic and inspiring. FOCUS has the tools and experience to equip young people and adults to be true missionary disciples in the twenty-first century.
Here are some of the takeaways our Diocese of Pueblo leadership team had from SLS20 this past week and what we want you to have the benefit of knowing too, especially as you serve in the Diocese and parishes.
1. We are not OK.
SLS20 kicked off with Father Mike Schmitz hitting the stage. It was not too long into his talk that Father Mike got emotional and then all 8,000+ of us in the room got emotional. He cried out: “We are not OK!” “I am not OK!”
He explained: “I am afraid that when we say, “I am fine,” that you actually believe it. […] “When Peter realized the true identity of who Jesus is, he realized who he was not. He realized he was not fine. […] Have we ever met Jesus in the boat and realized we are not fine in the face of real goodness?"
“We need Jesus and we are not fine. When we have this realization, it is the best moment of our lives. We need to know who we are. We need to realize that without Jesus we are not fine.”
2. We each need healing in different ways.
Sister Miriam James Heidland, SOLT, who has a history of rape and addiction took the stage to tell the young people that we all need healing in different ways. We may have childhood trauma that still needs to be addressed. Even if we struggle with pornography addiction or whatever it may be, Jesus loves us and wants our good. Jesus desires us to be healed!
3. We are always on Mission.
All baptized Catholics are to be active disciples, discipling others always.
At any moment, we need to be ready to give an account of Jesus, our relationship with Him and our conversion story. Our testimony needs to culminate with an invitation to discover the living God, Jesus Christ!
4. Bible studies and small groups are really important.
Don’t expect bulletins to do the work for us anymore. Our parishioners feel authenticity when it’s offered. They want to feel loved, chosen and unique. This happens by way of personal invitation.
5. The culture is hostile towards the Catholic faith, don’t be surprised by this.
The world is going to tell you lies and it is hostile to the Catholic faith. Fight for your soul and the souls of others!
To sign up for SEEK or learn about other ways to grow in the Catholic faith and become missionary disciples, contact Dr. Seth Wright, Director of Missionary Discipleship.
Contributor: Amanda Zurface resides in Pueblo, Colorado, where she serves as the Vice-Chancellor for the Diocese of Pueblo. She also serves as the Catholic Content Specialist for Covenant Eyes. Amanda holds a License and MA in Canon Law and a BA in Catholic Theology and Social Justice. She is the co-author of Equipped: Smart Catholic Parenting in a Sexualized Culture and Transformed by Beauty.