By Jenna Festoff
St. Thomas More Oratory
I had the great privilege to attend the SEEK 2024 conference in St. Louis run by FOCUS in early January.
A year ago, my relationship with God was very far from where it is now. I was still adjusting to the rigorous life of being a college student who didn’t want to be a part of the popular secular college culture. I walked a lonely path of a shallow relationship with Christ, while also having no friends in general on campus because of my values.
This all changed when God graced me with the greatest gift that I have ever received, becoming a valued member of St. Thomas More Oratory. At the Oratory I not only met the FOCUS missionaries who helped me through my times of hardship, I also met some of my best friends in Christ who all contributed greatly to helping me meet our wonderful father, Jesus Christ, at SEEK 2024.
Before SEEK, I had known of Jesus Christ, but I truly do not believe I ever heard his voice until I experienced eucharistic adoration at SEEK. Between the immense amount of reverence that was displayed in the stadium filled with 24,000-plus attendees, to the moment that the procession traveled around the stadium to allow Jesus to be seen by all and especially when they brought him right in front of our section, I was moved to tears and for those who know me, this is a rare occurrence.
In this moment when I saw Jesus so clearly and closely, and when I glanced to the left and right of me, I saw kneeling two of my best friends, my sisters in Christ, my “Hot Coals” (friends who help you to strive to be the best version of yourself, as a person and a disciple of God). At that moment I recalled what one of my missionaries had said to us when we were deciding to attend SEEK.
“Right now, look to the left and right of you. Who do you want to see seated beside you at SEEK? Who do you want to encounter a deeper relationship with Christ with?”
At that moment what my missionary had said had come true, I was finally with my best friends at SEEK and we were actively experiencing the strength of God’s immense love for us all.
This moment and many more, have become core memories that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Not to be too cliche, but my experience at SEEK truly changed my life and most importantly my relationship with God forever. I cannot describe how grateful I am to all my “Hot Coals’’ for encouraging me to attend SEEK and, of course, God for always having a plan for me and my life, even in the darkest of times, when I feel like it’s impossible that he could possibly have one.
In a world encapsulated by darkness, choose to allow the light of God’s love to shine throughout you onto others.
Be the light!
Jenna Festoff is a sophomore at the University of Delaware.