How SEEK24 just set the stage for the upcoming National Eucharistic Congress — By: Catholic News Agency

Approximately 24,000 people participated in Eucharistic adoration at the SEEK24 conference Jan. 3, 2024, in St. Louis. / Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

St. Louis, Mo., Jan 6, 2024 / 07:00 am (CNA).

The SEEK24 Catholic conference, put on by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), wrapped up this week in St. Louis, having attracted some 24,000 people for talks, workshops, and worship, including a massive session of Eucharistic adoration. 

As impressive as it was to have a group that size gathered to adore the Eucharistic Jesus, a new event this summer promises to up the ante.

The National Eucharistic Congress, the culmination of the U.S. bishops’ multiyear project of promoting belief in and reverence for the Eucharist, is expected to attract 80,000 people to Indianapolis July 17–21.

In addition, leading up to the congress is the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage — four Eucharistic processions starting from differing points in the country and finishing in Indianapolis for the start of the congress.

The National Eucharistic Congress was promoted throughout the SEEK conference, particularly with a large booth in the marketplace hall. Speakers associated with the Congress, including Bishop Andrew Cozzens of Crookston, Minnesota, who is spearheading the bishops’ initiative, gave addresses at the conference. 

Bishop Andrew Cozzens of Crookston, Minnesota, was among the scheduled speakers at the SEEK24 conference Jan. 1–5, 2024, in St. Louis. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

FOCUS, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, has been sharing information with the organizers of the Eucharistic Congress on how to put on a successful large-scale Catholic event. 

Tom Bruner, vice president of formative enterprises for FOCUS, told CNA that he has been offering advice and “comparing notes” with Tim Glemkowski, CEO of the National Eucharistic Congress, throughout the planning process from the congress. 

Tim Glemkowski, CEO of the National Eucharistic Revival, at the SEEK conference hosted by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) in St. Louis Jan. 1–5, 2024. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

“We’ve benefited so heavily from other groups over the last 25 years showing us the way, so any time we can kind of open up and say, ‘Hey, here’s what works for us. Here’s who we talk to. Here’s the programs or systems we use,’ we’re always happy to share that,” he said. 

“There’s no competition here. The more people we can get to come, it just builds and builds.” 

Bruner said the fact that Eucharistic adoration features so prominently during the SEEK conference makes SEEK “completely complimentary” to the upcoming congress. He encouraged those who have encountered Jesus in a deeper way at SEEK to encourage their friends and family to attend the upcoming congress. 

Attendance at the 2024 Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) SEEK conference topped 19,000, a 28% increase over last year. Credit: Jonah McKeown/CNA

“If you’re at SEEK and you’re getting something out of it, the question is: What difference did this make in your life? It’s not supposed to now be that you have this great but quiet and private prayer life. You’re supposed to share it. And the next best opportunity to bring other people to have that same encounter that you had here will be the congress. So go home, talk to your friends, talk to your families, talk to your neighbors, talk to your co-workers, whoever it is, and invite them to come with you,” he said.

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