Local youth among 17,000 students SEEKing Christ
‘Young people know that they are made for something more’
By Dave Myers
Southwest Kansas Catholic
Such was the spirited energy at the SEEK conference for college students in Indianapolis, that for those local youth for whom it was their first time attending, “it was like drinking from a fire hydrant,” noted Adam Urban, Director of Youth Ministry.
Among 17,000 college-age young people gathered in Indianapolis Jan. 3-7 for the annual conference, was a group of 26 students from southwest Kansas.
“When you get that many young people together, the energy is really high,” said Urban, who attended the event with Director of Young Adult Ministry, Gentry Heimerman. “A lot of kids were overwhelmed. So much was hitting them.”
Organized by FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), these 26 students and their 17,000 counterparts were there to become empowered: to discern which direction they would like their lives to take; to organize and participate in Bible studies back in their college community; and through the conferences music, prayer, talks and break-out sessions, to become ever closer to Christ and His children on earth.
Among the youth were some 400 priests, several popular Christian bands and nationally renowned Catholic speakers (see Page 7).
“Frankly,” said Heimerman, “the fact that we have 26 students from our diocese who are involved enough at their Newman centers to know about and willingly go on this trip is amazing in itself!
“I went with a ‘work’ mind-set and had a list of the goals I was hoping to accomplish in relation to my job here at the diocese,” Heimerman explained. “Network with other directors, find new ideas for ministry, accompany our students and bring them all together for a meal to facilitate a deeper sense of diocesan community, etc.
“These were good goals and thankfully God brought them to fruition, but I was not expecting the way in which Jesus would burst through all of that and dig things out of my heart that had unwittingly been buried so deep.”
The conference included daily Mass, adoration, confession, as well as a night in which each diocese gathered together to share over dinner what they’d learned from the event thus far. Apart from this, the students were free to attend without adhering to any one group.
“It was great to connect with people from nearby, as well as folks from all over the country who do work similar to ours and to learn from them,” Heimerman said. “This event tells me that young people know that they are made for something more. That the ache they feel in their hearts will not be satisfied with ‘perfect careers’, ‘perfect lifestyles’, or continually updated versions of iOS. Abiding union with Love itself is what they are destined for, and SEEK aids in the acknowledgment of that truth, arm in arm with 17,000 other college students.”