DENVER, Dec. 21, 2022 — People are searching for hope, purpose and meaning in life, especially amid a culture that leaves many in despair. SEEK, an annual event hosted by FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), changes lives. SEEK invites attendees of all levels of faith to ask the big questions about life, happiness and salvation. FOCUS expects more than 15,000 people — half of them college students — to experience fellowship, prayer, world-class speakers and entertainment during SEEK23: YouAre Called at the America’s Center Convention Complex in St. Louis Jan. 2 – 6. People from around the world will participate, including groups from Ireland, Austria, Mexico and other countries.
Ben Rector, an Emmy-nominated independent singer-songwriter and instrumentalist, will be featured on stage as the conference’s headline entertainment. Registration is at seek.focus.org and includes day and full event passes.
Founded in 1998, FOCUS will kick off its 25th anniversary celebrations at SEEK23. The inaugural FOCUS event in 1999 encouraged 25 students to come together to pray, deepen their Catholic faith and learn how to share it with others. Since then, national FOCUS conferences have transformed lives and encouraged tens of thousands of attendees to “Fear not; rise, He is calling you” (Mk 10:49).
SEEK23 will be the largest in-person FOCUS event since the pandemic started. Hybrid SEEK21 and SEEK22 events welcomed nearly 50,000 people who met in regional and small groups around the world to experience a deeper encounter with Christ and increased zeal for evangelization. Campuses and parishes hosted events that provided thousands of attendees with an opportunity to encounter Jesus and learn how to witness to the truth, beauty and goodness of the Catholic faith.
World-class Evangelization Experts
More than 50 SEEK23 speakers will urge attendees to heed the call of the Gospel and how Jesus asks everyone to follow Him: not tomorrow, but today. SEEK23 keynote and impact speakers include Timothy Cardinal Dolan (Archdiocese of New York), Fr. Mike Schmitz (host of the chart-topping Bible in a Year podcast), Chika Anyanwu (international Catholic evangelist) and FOCUS Founders Curtis Martin and Dr. Edward Sri.
Talks will address topics at the heart of living and sharing the Gospel, such as cultivating virtuous relationships, parenting as a path to holiness, serving the poor, discussing Catholicism and the environment, explaining Church teachings with love and mercy, and the beauty and necessity of forgiveness.
As in previous years, SEEK23 will also present Spanish-language talks from popular speakers such as Fr. Rafael Capó, a priest of the Archdiocese of Miami who participates in major national initiatives of Hispanic ministry and is actively present on social media with an emphasis in ministry to young people.
Sessions for College Students, Post-collegiate Attendees and Those in Ministry
Along with the Collegiate Track, SEEK23 will offer the Campus 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.
“The Catholic Church exists to bring others to Jesus Christ and FOCUS has been such a gift to the Church in raising up missionary disciples,” said Brian Miller, FOCUS alum and director for Evangelization and Discipleship for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Miller leads the Evangelization Committee for the archdiocese’s All Things New initiative, which seeks to re-energize Catholics to embrace the call to share the Gospel with others. “I cannot wait to see the impact SEEK23 has in St. Louis and all the graces it will bring to our archdiocese.”
Msgr. Ted L. Wojcicki is the pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, Dardenne Prairie, Missouri, at which FOCUS Parish missionaries serve. He shared his excitement for SEEK23: “In a world drifting from following the Gospel of Joy given to us by Jesus Christ, it is a great blessing to be with thousands of believers SEEKing to deepen their faith. We are not just a collection of isolated human beings, but a community of believers supporting one another in experiencing the Lord’s love and mercy.”
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, Martin and Sri will host a 12-week FOCUS “Lenten Bible Study on the Story of Salvation” live on Monday evenings 6–6:55 p.m. MT, Jan. 23 – April 10, 2023. The study will take 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.
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