Come. See. Hear. Encounter. This year, SEEK21 is coming to you

Rocio Madera

This year, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) is doing something special for their annual SEEK conference: a one-of-a-kind, live broadcast event that will allow anybody to experience the four-day SEEK21 conference from any location.   

The FOCUS national conference welcomes all Catholics who want to live out the truth of Christ in daily life and learn more about their faith, but in a slightly different way than previous FOCUS conferences.    

“What’s amazing about this event is it truly is not designed to be virtual! SEEK21 is wherever you are this year. Essentially, if COVID regulations allow, we are inviting people to gather in their living rooms or parishes as small groups to attend SEEK together,” said Christine Sarnow, FOCUS Senior Director of Events. “The conference is an interactive experience with time for small group sessions and time to pray and attend the sacraments with those you are with. We believe that something transformative happens when this journey is with others!”  

SEEK 21 will take place Feb.  4 – 7 and will be a broadcast experience sharing the heart of the Gospel. The conference will be an interactive, immersive event that will bring thousands together in small group sessions from any location. Groups will be encouraged, strengthened, and healed through Mass, prayer, small group conversations, guest speakers and shared meals. 

Attendees will have the opportunity to listen remotely to the best of today’s Catholic speakers, teachers, and leaders sharing their stories, wisdom, and practical insight into the heart of the Gospel. This year’s keynote speakers include Bishop Robert Barron, Father Mike Schmitz, Jeff Cavins, Leah Darrow, Jason Evert, John Zimmer, Jennifer Fulwiler, Trent Horn, Damon Owens, Oscar Rivera Jr., Lila Rose and Sarah Swafford, among others.  

“Not only are these speakers incredible, but each talk is custom content for SEEK21, geared toward the heart of the gospel.  Each session is a part of an overall formative journey that, together, unfolds our faith’s beautiful story,” Sarnow added.  

College students, missionaries, FOCUS alumni, parishioners, clergy, religious, and all participants are encouraged to gather in Catholic centers, parishes, outdoor tents, or anywhere they can to journey together and ask the big questions about joy, peace, hope, and salvation.  

“I am very much looking forward to SEEK21 and all the wonderful graces the Lord will bestow on all who attend. God is much greater than our human restrictions and wants to transform lives through the experience of SEEK21,” said Deisy Muñoz Viesca, a FOCUS campus missionary. “It’s at these conferences that I am reminded of the great commission Jesus asked his disciples in Matthew 28:16–20, to share the transformative message of Gospel and how Jesus will be with us always. I experience a lot of encouragement during the conference knowing that I am not alone in this journey of faith and that there are many others who are seeking Truth. And ultimately, it’s an encounter with the living God who loves us beyond all measure.”   

Mass and adoration will be broadcasted online and participants will be provided with time for prayer and the sacraments. Small group leaders are encouraged to coordinate with local parishes to provide live sacraments to their groups during SEEK21.  

“Prayer and the sacraments are where the real miracles happen at every SEEK conference, and SEEK21 will be no different,” Sarnow emphasized. “This will continue to be the foundation upon which SEEK is built. The Eucharist will be exposed for Holy Adoration not just in one room but in hundreds or perhaps even thousands across the globe – uniting all of our attendees with the same prayer intentions to ask God for an outpouring of His Spirit, healing in today’s culture and our Church, and for the evangelization of all nations.”

Attendees will gather together as a universal Church to experience Eucharistic adoration in unique ways, which includes live adoration simultaneously across the country.  

“Just Come. It is for you, no matter where you are at in your walk with your faith,” Sarnow concluded. “No matter your age or life circumstances. Register. We have had a challenging year as a country and global community, and I believe SEEK will be an unbelievable time of hope, joy, and mission that all our hearts are longing for!”  

For more information and registration visit: seek.focus.org.  

COMING UP: From rare books to online resources, archdiocesan library has long history of service to students

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National Library Week, observed this year from April 4 to April 10, is the perfect occasion to highlight the essential role of libraries and library staff in strengthening our communities – and our very own Cardinal Stafford Library at the Archdiocese of Denver is no exception.  

Since 1932, the library has served as a religious, intellectual, and cultural resource for seminarians and students at St. John Vianney Seminary in Denver.

As the library of the seminary, we are always responsible for the four dimensions of the priestly formation of our seminarians. The library is charged with being responsible to all the divisions of the Seminary: the Lay Division (Catholic Biblical School and Catholic Catechetical School), the Permanent Deacon Formation Division, and the Priestly Formation Division, said Stephen Sweeney, Library Director. 

In addition to being one of the main resources to the seminary, the Cardinal Stafford Library serves the needs of other educational programs in the Archdiocese of Denver, including the St. Francis School for Deacons, the Biblical School, the Catechetical School and the Augustine Institute. While the library is currently closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was previously open to anyone, giving people access to more than 150,000 books, audios, and videos. 

The Cardinal Stafford Library was named after Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, Apostolic Penitentiary at the Vatican and former Archbishop of Denver from 1986 to 1996. He was a dedicated advocate of the library and of Catholic education.

In 1932, the library was established by two seminarians, Maurice Helmann and Barry Wogan. While they were not the first seminarians to conceive the idea of establishing a library, they are considered the founders for undertaking its organization.  

Since its founding, the library has grown and compiled a fine collection of resources on Catholic theology, Church history, biblical studies, liturgy, canon law, religious art, philosophy, and literature. Special collections include over 500 rare books dating back to the early 16th century and many periodicals dating back to the 1800s. The oldest publication in the library is a book on excommunication published in 1510. The Cardinal Stafford Library is also home to various relics and holds bills personally written by some of those saints.  

Over the past few years, the library has undergone a process of beautification through various renovations that include improvements in lighting, flooring, and even furniture restoration. During these difficult times, libraries are doing their best to adapt to our changing world by expanding their digital resources to reach those who don’t have access to them from home. 

The Cardinal Stafford Library provides a community space; we subscribe to about 200 print journals and have access to literally thousands more through online resources available on campus computers, Sweeney added. “I have been the Library Director for almost 11 years. I absolutely love my work, especially participating in the intellectual formation of the faithful from all of the dioceses we serve”.  

For more information on the Cardinal Stafford Library, visit: sjvdenver.edu/library 

Featured photo by Andrew Wright