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Boise one of several regional sites to host annual SEEK conference

Updated: Jan 13, 2022

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The following story appeared in the January 14 Idaho Catholic Register.

By Gene Fadness


Christmas break is usually the time when tens of thousands of Catholic university students and some adults gather for the annual SEEK conferences, hosted by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS).

However, like so many large events, the COVID pandemic forced the cancellation of last year’s event, SEEK21, but organizers did offer a “hybrid, immersive broadcast,” in dozens of sites worldwide that was attended by about 27,000 from 20 countries.

A similar plan for smaller conferences at several locations is planned this year for SEEK22, including one in Boise, where more than 500 are expected to gather at the Boise Centre on Feb. 4-6.

Those attending will be primarily college-aged students from six campuses – Boise State, the University of Idaho, Idaho State, Western Washing-ton, Eastern Washington and the University of Utah – but older adults are welcome as well, said Andrew Furphy, administrator at St. Paul’s Catholic Student Center at Boise State.

The conference was to have been held in Salt Lake City this year and, had it been like past SEEK events in Phoenix and San Antonio, would have attracted up to 15,000 participants.

While the pandemic forced the cancellation of a gathering that large, organizers did not want to pull away completely from opportunities that would still allow people to gather in community, either in small groups or in larger venues like the Boise gathering.

The larger venues will offer much of what would have been available at Salt Lake City, including Mass, celebrated in Boise by Bishop Peter Christensen, Adoration, Reconciliation, and break-out events for registrants.

Some of the conference’s nationally known speakers will spread out to be present at some of the larger venues to give their presentations, which will also be made available to the up to 100,000 who are expected to gather at sites across the nation.

The Boise event will include Benedictine College professor Dr. Andrew Swafford and his wife, Sarah Swafford, a national speaker and author of “Emotional Virtue: A Guide to Drama Free Relationships,” and Mike and Alicia Hernon of the Messy Family Project.

From Left to Right: Jason Evert, Edward Sri, Sister Bethany Madonna, Sister Miriam James Heidland, Father Mike Schmitz

In addition to speakers onsite, participants will be able to watch other speakers, such as Jason Evert, Father Mike Schmitz, Sister Miriam James Heidland, Dr. Edward Sri and Sister Bethany Madonna on large screens at the convention site.

Mass will be offered each of the three days at the Boise event, said, Anna Evans, a FOCUS missionary at Boise State. In addition to Bishop Peter, other celebrants will include Father Nathan Dail of St. Paul’s Catholic Student Center at BSU and Father

Chase Hasenoehrl of St. Augustine Catholic Student Center at the University of Idaho.

Several priests will be available to hear confessions.

Housing has been reserved at nearby hotels for out-of-town registrants, Evans said.

“SEEK21 combined the best of live conferences and virtual gatherings

to bring together more than 27,000 people from 20 countries and six continents,” said a news release from FOCUS. “More than 95 percent of attendees said that they had an encounter with Christ during the event. SEEK21 launched more regular Bible study participants into discipleship than any previous conference,” the news release stated.

SEEK22 is expected to attract more than 30,000 people, according to FOCUS. “SEEK is the only Catholic conference of its size that presents the heart of the Gospel and modern-day missionary discipleship in a format that’s flexible, accessible and meaningful for every person,” the news release stated.

“Based on the incredible impact of SEEK21, the decision to go beyond the walls of one convention center aligns perfectly with the apostolate’s mission to reach as many souls as possible,” the news release stated.

Anyone who registers will have an all-access pass to live sacramental celebrations, prayer, sessions and everything else SEEK has to offer. After SEEK is over, registrants will be able to return to the conference content and continue to bring what they’ve experienced into everyday life.

“SEEK22 can be scaled up or down depending on specific needs, restrictions and local guidelines, giving each host location flexibility to meet ac-cording to state and local regulations,” the news release stated. “Participants will be encouraged to follow necessary regulations and regularly review the CDC guidance on social distancing and mask use.”

On campuses, teams will collaborate with university chaplaincies to plan engaging SEEK22 activities. At parishes, groups will work with the chaplain and parish team to invite the local community to gather in small groups. Nearly 4,000 small groups participated in SEEK21, and FOCUS expects an even greater number at SEEK22.

Registration for the three-day event is $65 for students and $165 for individuals and a special group price of $565 for up to 10 individuals. Special group pricing for parishes is available as well. Every registered attendee will receive exclusive live and on-demand content, access to the SEEK22 platform to connect with speakers, meet sponsors and participate in special events. The platform will also include access to exclusive event resources and materials.

To register for the Boise event go to for more information contact at

If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more like it, please consider buying a subscription to the Idaho Catholic Register. Your $20 yearly subscription also supports the work of the Diocese of Boise Communications Department, which includes not only the newspaper, but this website, social media posts and videos. You can subscribe here, or through your parish, or send a check to 1501 S. Federal Way, Boise, ID, 83705: or call 208-350-7554 to leave a credit card payment. Thank you, and God bless you.

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