SLS18 Event Reaches Beyond Students to Aspiring Catholic Leaders

Speakers include Bishop Robert Barron, Lisa Brenninkmeyer and Mike Sweeney

DENVER, Colo., August 17, 2017 — The Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) will host SLS18: Inspire & Equip on January 2 – 6, 2018, in Chicago. SLS18 is a leadership conference which strikes a perfect balance between inspiration and practical application. Previously an invite-only event for students, SLS is now open to anyone who desires to become a leader in the New Evangelization. 

Training sessions will provide fundamental wisdom and real-world tools for guiding others closer to Jesus Christ. Attendees will then practice with peers in the Power Sessions, where they will teach fellow leaders the skills for evangelization. 

SLS18 will also include daily opportunities for Mass, adoration, confession, reflection and discernment. Entertainment slated for the event includes singer and songwriter Matt Maher, illusionist Mark Cook and performance painter Mike Debus. 

The event will welcome aspiring leaders, college students, Bible study facilitators, FOCUS alumni, parishioners, professionals, bishops, chaplains and religious, seminarians, benefactors, lay ministers and others ready to take the next step as leaders in the Church. 

Camille McCarty attended SLS16 as a student at Southern Methodist University (SMU). Three weeks after she returned, she started a Bible study on campus and later brought two students into discipleship. 

"SLS16 empowered me to deepen my Catholic faith, while giving me the confidence and desire to share it with others," said McCarty, who recently graduated from SMU. This fall, she will be a trainee with the Oklahoma City Ballet. "Growing in faith is a continuous battle. The tools and inspiration I learned at SLS16 helped me realize that if we love Jesus, we have to share Him." 

McCarty also remembers, "seeing 100 priests on the altar was one of the most powerful things I've seen in my life. My mind was blown by the silence and reverence for Jesus Christ. It was a little taste of heaven." 

Keynote speakers for SLS18 include Bishop Robert Barron, Sr. Bethany Madonna, Fr. Mike Schmitz, Lisa Brenninkmeyer, Jason Evert, Curtis Martin, Dr. Edward Sri, Kelsey Skoch, Sarah Swafford and Mike Sweeney. 

Many other world-renowned Catholic speakers will share perspectives on current faith issues, including experts such as Fr. Philip Bochanski, Barbara (Nicolossi) Harrington, Dr. Mary Healy, Fr. John Kartje, Fr. Sean Kilcawley, Harry Kraemer, Jr., Fr. Brian Mullady, Dr. Jonathan Reyes and Fr. Larry Richards. Bios and new speaker announcements are online at

FOCUS events have welcomed more than 53,000 attendees since the inaugural National Conference held in 1999, where 25 students came together to pray, deepen their Catholic faith and learn how to share Christ with others. Nearly 13,000 attendees came to the previous FOCUS national conference, SEEK2017, including students and chaplains from more than 500 campuses. Close to 300 priests concelebrated daily Mass, and priests heard more than 5,000 confessions over the course of the five-day event. 

The event website includes a Sponsor a Student page to provide an opportunity to invest in the future of young adult Catholics. Tax-deductible donations help FOCUS missionaries to be successful with their invitations to students who may object due to budget restraints. 

Sponsors include the Augustine Institute (Partner Sponsor) and Liturgical Institute (Official Sponsor). Organizations interested in sponsorship can email [email protected]


The Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) was founded in 1998 and invites college students into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church, inspiring and equipping them for a lifetime of Christ-centered evangelization, discipleship and friendships in which they lead others to do the same. During the 2017 – 2018 academic year, more than 660 missionaries are serving full-time on 137 college campuses, located across 38 U.S. states and at three international locations (two campuses in Austria and one in England). More than 20,000 students have been involved with FOCUS, who after graduation have the opportunity to move into parish life to continue their missionary work. Within this number, 674 have made decisions to pursue Catholic religious vocations. By 2022, FOCUS expects – God willing – to have 75,000 students transitioned into many of America's 17,000+ Catholic parishes. 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. To learn more, visit us at