SEEK21 plants evangelization seeds

Adoration by candlelight was part of the SEEK21 event Feb. 4-6 at Church of the Magdalen in Wichita. (Courtesy photo)

The pandemic didn’t stop SEEK21 from attempting to evangelize our increasingly anti-Christian culture.

About 130 took part in the internet event Thursday, Feb. 4, through Saturday, Feb. 6, at Church of Magdalen in Wichita. The parish was one of many sites across the country that enabled participants to hear nearly 25 lay, ordained, and religious speakers and teachers share the Gospel.

Mike Gearing, who with his wife, Julia, and Jordan McLaughlin, serve as parish missionaries, said last week that participants listened to speakers – mostly live presentations – from all over the country.

“After most of the talks we had small group time,” he said, “which was groups of about 10 people during which they processed what they heard in the talk and share what they were experiencing.”

Among the speakers were Bishop Robert Barron, Jeff Cavins, Curtis Martin, Fr. Mike Schmitz, and Edward Sri.

Many of the talks correlated to the diocesan pastoral plan’s vision to become fully alive as missionary disciples and to evangelize today’s culture.

Focus of event was the Gospel

“The initial talks presented the Gospel in different ways to the attendees,” Gearing said. The later talks focused on sharing the Gospel, such as the one given by the founder of FOCUS, Curtis Martin, who talked about ‘the little way of evangelization.’”

That little way emphasizes that a person who wishes to evangelize doesn’t have to strive to reach out to the masses, Gearing said, but to evangelize to the people one regularly comes into contact with. “That handful of people that you can be more intentional with, that you can share your life more deeply with, and invite them onto mission with you.”

Those who attended were happy to be able to engage each other personally, even with social distancing, he said.

“Many of them still hadn’t met a lot of the people in the parish community so it was a great opportunity to do that within a small group.”

Several of the small groups are planning to continue to meet either as Bible study or faith-sharing groups, he said.

“There were a lot of people who really had powerful encounters with the Lord, many of them for the first time,” Gearing said.

In addition to the conference, the parish hosted a candlelit Eucharistic adoration in the sanctuary Saturday night in addition to a praise and worship band.