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Eastern Washington University Students attend a very different SEEK Conference

Eastern Washington University Students Attend a Very Different SEEK Conference

A recent opportunity for our students at Eastern Washington University was the SEEK21 conference, hosted by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. This year’s  conference had more than 27,000 attendees nationwide, participating across homes, parishes, and campuses.

In our region, we were able to team up with nearby campuses to experience the conference together. Eastern Washington University, the University of Idaho, and the University of Montana were able to gather at a camp in North Idaho to pray and participate in SEEK. At our camp location, we had about 160 students and missionaries in attendance. EWU, specifically, registered 44 students, up more than 150% from last year. Since this year’s conference was digital in presentation, the method was to host small groups who could walk together through the content of the conference. EWU was able to have six small groups, with each lead being led by some of our student disciples.

Throughout the conference, we were presented with content from top catholic speakers. Highlights included talks from Sister Miriam James Heidland, Father Mike Schmitz, Dr. Edward Sri, and Curtis Martin. The content of SEEK this year was centered around the gospel message. The reality of the gospel was what really struck our students, like when Father Mike spoke about how God the Father sees us and how we can reveal ourselves to him and trust him.

One of the mainstays of the SEEK conference is the night of adoration. With the conference being digital and worldwide this year, the adoration night was offered as a worldwide prayer vigil. All of the  conference’s material is incredible, but the adoration night tends to be one of the most impactful parts of the conference. This year was no exception. Many of our students said afterward that, for them, the highlight was that night of prayer. Hearing the students describe what the Lord did during that time of prayer is profound and moving. One student described it as the deepest peace she had ever felt, and that the multiple-hour prayer time felt like only a few minutes. Another student was able to receive some profound healing and felt the Lord’s presence powerfully. He described his encounter with the Lord during the prayer time in great detail and named it as changing the trajectory of his life. Other students were able to have deep and healing confessions, some after having been away from the sacrament for a while.

Since coming back to campus from the conference, we have seen profound fruits. We began Lent at the St. John Paul II Newman Center with a 24-hour adoration vigil Tuesday night through Ash Wednesday. This allowed students to sign up for an hour to pray with the Blessed Sacrament. Almost 20 students signed up for each hour, even through the night.

We have also seen an increased and confirmed desire to enter the Church through RCIA this spring. Currently, we have at least five students planning to receive the sacraments of initiation this Easter. Other students are praying and discerning giving their life to serve as missionaries with FOCUS, and others have joined bible studies. The Lord moved profoundly during the SEEK conference and we are grateful to have been able to experience it here at Eastern Washington.