Over a dozen Mundelein seminarians and a few staff members spent the last five days of their Christmas break at the SEEK conference in Indianapolis. The event is sponsored by FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), a Catholic outreach ministry whose mission is to share the gospel with the world. This conference was attended by 17,000 college students, religious brothers and sisters, priests, Catholic laity, and seminarians from across the country.
Our seminarians led small groups for the Lifelong Mission Track, teaching parish leaders how to evangelize and grow in their own faith, focusing on cultivating a lifetime of Christ-centered evangelization, discipleship and friendships. They also served at the Masses, prayed for and with new friends, and spoke to young men discerning their call to the priesthood. We sponsored a Mundelein Seminary booth, where seminarians were visible beacons of hope for the future of the Church. Our future priests shared about life at the seminary and their own vocation stories, interacting with and inspiring hundreds of faithful lay people.
Most exciting of all, we were able to get conference attendees to pray for individual seminarians from our community. More than 4,000 slips of paper–each with the name and diocese of one of our seminarians–were handed out at the Mundelein Seminary exhibition booth. Thousands of people visited the booth, chatted with our seminarians, and took a prayer request. Our seminarians shared their vocation stories, prayed with people, encouraged them to pursue their own vocation, and answered the question, “Where exactly is Mundelein?” We are thankful to now have 4,000 more people praying for our men!
For the first time, FOCUS set up a podcast booth for live recordings of select Catholic programs. Alumni Fr. Connor Danstrom (Chicago, ’14), Fr. Rob Johnson (Springfield, ’18), and Fr. Mike Metz (Atlanta, ’18) recorded a live taping of their podcast “Three Dogs North,” which they created while studying together at Mundelein.
“The Liturgy Guys,” an initiative of the Liturgical Institute on campus, was also selected for this new media endeavor. Christopher Carstens and Dr. Denis McNamara, faculty members at the Liturgical Institute, sit down with host Jesse Weiler every week to talk about Catholic Liturgy. At the end of each episode our Liturgy experts take time to answer listener-submitted questions. The goal of the podcast is to share the treasures of Liturgy with English speaking Catholics all over the world, and it has accrued more than 250,000 downloads in its first two years.
Many #mundalum priests also attended and participated in SEEK. They concelebrated Mass with hundreds of other priests, for a procession that stretched the length of the meeting hall. Additionally, our priests were available to pray with anyone and hear confessions. On Saturday night alone, 5,000 confessions were heard. We are very proud of our alumni, current seminarians, and staff who participated during their break.
The sheer number of Catholics who spent a long weekend investing in their faith at SEEK was inspiring to all in attendance. The added bonus of meeting people who will pray for them on their path to priesthood was a highlight for many of our future priests. You can see a short video of seminarian Mike Mehringer’s experience at SEEK on the Mundelein Facebook page, and another video on Instagram. There are also plenty of photos from the event on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.