ALLOUEZ — Young adult Catholics from the Diocese of Green Bay were among the 17,000 people who attended SEEK2019 in Indianapolis Jan. 3-7. Students from UW-Green Bay, UW-Oshkosh and Silver Lake College participated in the event sponsored by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, (FOCUS).
Several students told The Compass what the experience meant to them.
“The most impactful part of SEEK for me had to be adoration,” said Amanda Laque, who attends Silver Lake College. “This past fall semester was absolutely crazy busy and I felt as if I have been growing farther and farther away from Christ. I struggled with my time management and keeping prayer my priority. During the time of adoration, I had an instant flood of peace overcome my heart as soon as I saw a sea of priests walk in the main conference center carrying our Lord in the monstrance.”
Laque said a session by Fr. Mike Schmitz, a priest of the Diocese of Duluth, Minn., provided information about the Mass that she found valuable.
“This session has allowed me to more deeply dive into the Mass and understand more of the Catholic faith,” she said.
Rachel Mazurek, who attends UW-Oshkosh, said speakers such as Chris Stefanik offered helpful insights. “Chris spoke about an issue in my life that I was struggling with. I brought it to confession and was forgiven,” she said. “God spoke truth into my heart and began the healing process.”
Mazurek said applying all she learned “will take frequenting the sacraments, especially Mass and confession. … I’m really excited to see what (God) has in store for me this coming year.”
Rachel Koepke, a senior at UWGB, said the SEEK experience was “an intense rekindling of my faith.”
The speakers and topics “sparked a fire inside me that strengthened my faith in a manner I didn’t know possible,” she said. “The most powerful part was adoration. Kneeling in front of the monstrance with over 17,000 of my peers was a moving experience that brought me to tears.”
Koepke said she returned home with many ideas.
“Many of the takeaways are personal faith builders like prayer and confession,” she said. “I felt the power of many Catholics standing firm in their faith, and I want to bring that home to my community. I want my spark to burn strong and ignite my fellow Catholics until we build a bonfire for God.”
Katie Wanek, who also attends UWGB, said the overall atmosphere at SEEK left a strong impact on her.
“Joining together with 17,000 other Catholics who all want to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ and grow in their knowledge of the Catholic faith was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before,” she said.
“The main message that I came home with from the event is that we have to embrace the reality that life is difficult. However, if we live our faith each day, go to the sacraments and trust God, we will be able to find joy throughout the ups and downs of life and through all trials,” added Wanek.
She hopes to apply what she experienced “by striving to offer everything to God on a daily basis.”
“While I may not know what my specific mission in life is yet, I know I have a purpose to glorify God and share the love of Christ with everyone I meet,” she said. “I am hoping that I can be more bold in doing this with the help of those who are on this journey with me.”