January 25, 2019

Conference raises enthusiasm of young adult Catholic community

Kalyann Palacios, a student at the University of Texas in Austin, prays before the Blessed Sacrament during adoration on Jan. 5 at the SEEK2019 conference in the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. Sponsored by the Denver-based Fellowship of Catholic University Students, the Jan. 3-7 event drew about 17,000 people, mostly college students. (Photo by Katie Rutter)

Kalyann Palacios, a student at the University of Texas in Austin, prays before the Blessed Sacrament during adoration on Jan. 5 at the SEEK2019 conference in the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. Sponsored by the Denver-based Fellowship of Catholic University Students, the Jan. 3-7 event drew about 17,000 people, mostly college students. (Photo by Katie Rutter)

By John Shaughnessy

Matt Faley always loves the moments when he sees “God work in the hearts” of young adults.

He witnessed many of those moments when more than 17,000 people from across the United States and the world gathered in Indianapolis on Jan. 3-7 for SEEK2019, the conference that offered its mostly young adult Catholic participants the opportunity to deepen their encounter with Jesus Christ.

“We had a large [archdiocesan] group of young adults [at] the conference, and I was particularly moved to hear what God was doing in their lives,” says Faley, the director of the archdiocese’s Office of College Campus and Young Adult Ministry.

“One person was moved to tears by the beauty of the liturgies, particularly through the witness of so many young priests. One came for just the weekend and told me the talks, time of adoration and confession— and connecting with community—were just what was needed in their life. Another participant started exploring religious life seriously for the first time.

“I’m sure there are more stories still being written, but how awesome to see God work in the hearts of those who were with us.”

Faley was also thrilled by a large group moment that occurred during the conference, which was sponsored by the Denver-based Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS).

“We were blessed to partner with FOCUS to host a ‘Theology on Tap’ event at the conference,” he says. “This event not only exposed our community to this huge national event, more importantly it allowed us to witness to the greater Church what a vibrant young adult community we have here in the archdiocese. About 1,500 people were in attendance, and hundreds of those were young adults from many parts of the archdiocese.”

Faley believes hosting the SEEK conference in Indianapolis will have a lasting impact on the young adult Catholic community in the archdiocese. He says the increased enthusiasm that resulted from SEEK can be summed up by a quote from one of the local participants: “I am ready to go.”

“Our group left ready to take those graces and turn them into tangible action back in their parish communities,” Faley noted.

“I could not help but think of what happened in Denver after St. John Paul II came for World Youth Day in 1993. While on a smaller scale here in Indy, the spiritual impact that will be left here after such an event will be long-lasting. I can’t wait to see what fruit will come.”

The SEEK conference also left its mark on Faley personally.

“I have been to so many conferences in my life of ministry, it almost becomes routine if I let it,” he says. “But of course, the Lord had other plans. I left so heartened by the mission God has entrusted me with and a new zeal to bring that mission back to our communities here in the archdiocese.” †

  

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From last week: Young adults embrace opportunity to deepen faith at SEEK2019

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