Jacqueline Burkepile is an award-winning journalist who writes for several publications in addition to the Register. She writes for the The North Texas Catholic and the The Texas Catholic, and has blogged for Johnnette Benkovic’s Women of Grace, as well as Leah Darrow. Jacqueline is also a Catholic Campus Minister at Texas Woman’s University with St. John Paul II University Parish in Denton, Texas. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism News (with a broadcast emphasis) from the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas in 2011. She and her husband had their first child in January 2015.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” When I think about the Fellowship of Catholic University Students’ SEEK 2017 conference, I think of this verse. Obviously, it is because Jesus asks us to “seek” him.
The conference is in Downtown San Antonio, Texas at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. It is massive! Nearly 13,000 young Catholics are here, and the hotels in the area are booked. I have never seen so many Catholic college students on fire for their faith in one location. I also see countless priests and religious almost everywhere I look. For example, as I drove through Downtown, I saw Franciscan Friars walking down the street. It sounds so simple, but it’s an amazing and beautiful witness of Christ and his Church!
Because the conference is so large, and so much happens at the exact same time, I cannot attend everything. I can, however, give you a glimpse of what I experienced on Wednesday.
Every day begins with prayer and exposition, followed by Mass. The day continues with various activities one can choose from. Perpetual adoration and confessions are also offered throughout the day. Catholic organizations, vendors, and religious orders also set up numbers tables throughout the convention center. It’s difficult to choose where to go next!
I had the opportunity to hear Scott Hahn and Jackie Francois Angel speak today. Both talks were wonderful!
Scott Hahn based his talk off of his book entitled "The Lamb's Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth."
"The really cool thing about being Catholic is that we don’t have to die in order to go to heaven. All we have to do is go to Mass! In heaven is where we are!" Hahn exclaimed. "The Eucharist is what is going to unveil the glory of Christ. It looks just like bread, but if we could see through the eyes of our guardian angels, we would see the Lord of Lords, we would see the King of Kings, the Alpha and Omega. He is there in Glory."
So many students heard his beautiful words! The large room was completely packed! I spoke with some students from Colorado State University who thoroughly enjoyed his talk. Connor Dolan (middle right) said, "After hearing that, I just want to go to Mass."
Dan Egger (middle), also a CSU student said that Scott Hahn's knowledge was "so in-depth." He added that "It’s really beautiful to see how that applies to our faith...the Mass can be broken down into something so deep and rich with knowledge."
Jake Dwyer (far right), said "it was really cool how explained the Mass as if you are in heaven every time. I just never thought [about it] like that."
After hearing Scott Hahn speak, I headed over to Jackie Francois' talk. Her presentation was entitled, "Beauty Will Change the World."
"How can you know the Good News of the Gospel and not be a person of joy? How can it not be a joyful thing that God sent his only Son to die for me? He sent his Son to die for me that I should have been crucified. It should have been me on that cross, because I am the guilty one. I am the sinner. But Jesus Christ, he took my place so that I might have eternal life. If I am not joyful about that, guess what? Nothing on this earth could satisfy me. Nothing could make me joyful," she said. "As Catholic Christians, when people encounter us, they should encounter beauty. They should be like, 'wow, there’s something different about this person.'"
She moved so many students. At the end, they all joined her in prayer and praise!
It was a wonderful day filled with the Holy Spirit's presence. Please pray for everyone attending this conference, and come back tomorrow for more photos and information regarding SEEK!