DENVER, Nov. 17, 2022 — National FOCUS conferences always feature award-winning, celebrated artists who bring energy and a love for Christ to the stage. For the upcoming conference, SEEK23: You Are Called, a well-known and widely acclaimed performer, Ben Rector, is coming to the America’s Center Convention Complex in St. Louis this January 2 – 6.
Rector, an Emmy-nominated independent singer-songwriter and instrumentalist, will be featured on stage as the conference’s headline entertainment. The Nashville-based artist has released seven studio albums, including Magic (2018), which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Americana/Folk Albums chart. His songs have been streamed more than one billion times and used in more than 100 television and film placements.
SEEK is an annual event hosted by FOCUS that invites attendees of all levels of faith to ask the big questions about life, happiness and salvation. Through fellowship, prayer, world-class speakers and entertainment, SEEK23 participants will be inspired to “Fear not; rise, He is calling you” (Mk 10:49).
“SEEK22 gave our parish the opportunity to come together for fellowship, prayer and open, honest conversations about where we are as a parish and how we can move forward in apostolic mission,” said Fr. Brian Lager, a FOCUS alumnus and pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Colby, Kansas. “Through the talks and small group discussions throughout the weekend, the parishioners felt empowered to take on the missionary habits of growing deeper in their relationship with God, to begin forming intentional friendships for the glory of God and the good of the Church."
In addition to Rector’s performance, SEEK also welcomes a full lineup of speakers, teachers and special guests who will share with attendees the call of the Gospel and how Jesus asks everyone to follow Him: not tomorrow, but today.
Sessions each day will address topics at the heart of living and sharing the Gospel. Along with the Collegiate Track, SEEK23 will offer the Ministry Track and the Making Missionary Disciples (MMD) Track. The MMD Track will equip post-college attendees to help transform parishes, dioceses, families and communities through implementing the Church’s vision for missionary discipleship.
SEEK23 keynote speakers include Sr. Miriam James Heidland, SOLT, Fr. Joshua Johnson, Sr. Bethany Madonna, S.V., Fr. Michael Schmitz, Chika Anyanwu, Hilary Draftz, Jason Evert, Paul. J. Kim, Curtis Martin and Dr. Edward Sri.
Along with keynote speakers and impact session speakers mentioned in the previous SEEK23 press release such as Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Damon Owens and Emily Wilson, recently announced speakers include Fr. Mark-Mary Ames, C.F.R., Fr. John Burns, Fr. Gregory Pine, O.P., Jackie Francois Angel, Crystalina Evert, Dr. Mary Healy, Mike and Alicia Hernon, Heather Khym, Pat Lencioni, Mari Pablo, Sarah Swafford and Kim Zember.
Anyanwu and Pablo will present together on Christian friendship. Sr. Heidland and Fr. Burns will explore the beauty and necessity of forgiveness. The Hernons will speak about parenting as a path to holiness. Fr. Pine will provide ways to get better at confession. Several speakers, including Angel, the Everts and Zember, will discuss relationships, sex and gender.
As in previous years, SEEK23 will also present Spanish-language talks from Fr. Rafael Capó, Fr. John Ignatius Ezratty, M.C., Clara Cuevas, Fernanda Gomez, Evan Lemoine, Vicente Del Real and others.
Various event pass options are available for students, parishes, the general public and St. Louis locals, from day passes to full event passes. Pass bundles are also available for parish groups. Special pricing is available for seminarians, deacons, religious, priests and FOCUS staff alumni.
Childcare services are open to children aged 18 months to 10 years. Additional registration through a partner vendor is required. Details will be sent to those who opt in during their SEEK registration.
Those unable to join other attendees in St. Louis can still experience the very best of SEEK23 and have the opportunity to encounter the Lord alongside thousands of others through SEEK Where You Are, with remote options for individuals, small groups and parishes.
To keep the momentum going and to help small group leaders build their skills after SEEK23, Curtis Martin and Dr. Edward Sri will host a 13-week The Story of Salvation Bible Study starting Jan. 23, taking participants deep into the one story that matters most: the story of salvation history. The Bible Study is open to anyone, and registration is at focus.org.
SEEK23 Premier Level Sponsors who will be “Sponsors of the Day” include the Augustine Institute, Benedictine College, Hallow, Seton Teaching Fellows and the University of Mary. Additional Premier Level Sponsors include Ascension, Camp Wojtyla, Catholic Medical Association, Christ in the City, Exodus 90, the Knights of Columbus, Spoke Street and Vagabond Missions. Organizations interested in learning more about sponsorships can email [email protected].
FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) is a Catholic apostolate whose mission is to share the hope and joy of the Gospel. FOCUS missionaries encounter people in friendship, inviting them into a personal relationship with Christ and accompanying them as they pursue lives of virtue and excellence. Through Bible studies, outreach events, mission trips and discipleship, missionaries inspire and build up others in the faith, sending them out to live out lifelong Catholic mission wherever they are.
For the 2022 – 2023 academic year, 861 missionaries are serving at 216 locations: 193 campus locations (including eight international campuses and 10 Digital Outreach campuses) and 23 parish locations. By 2027, FOCUS expects to have more than 1,000 missionaries serving in more than 250 locations around the world. FOCUS alumni, now more than 50,000 strong, are living and serving in parishes and communities across the country, including more than 10,000 trained for post-graduate evangelization. An important blessing of a fruitful partnership between the local campus ministry and FOCUS has been the pursuit of religious vocations. Since 1998, more than 1,000 people have entered the seminary or a religious house of formation after involvement with FOCUS on college campuses. Based on past experience, FOCUS expects that number to nearly double in the next 10 years. FOCUS missionaries are typically recent college graduates who devote two or more years of their post-collegiate lives to reach out to peers on campus. focus.org