The Church is Joyful, Vibrant and Growing! SEEK24: View from the Raven’s Nest

When I was invited to attend SEEK24 and to work the booth for Benedictine College, I was excited, but I had very little expectation of what the event would hold.

Truth be told, it was overwhelming. Mission Way (where all your favorite Catholic organizations, vendors, religious orders and general awesomeness gathered) was a complete sensory overload, even when it wasn’t teeming with thousands of SEEKers, hundreds of priests and seminarians, and more than a dozen bishops. I saw some of my favorite Catholic speakers, ran into some truly fantastic former students and reveled in the delightful stories of Raven alumni & families.

The Catholic Church is joyful, vibrant and growing: Thanks be to God!

This reality is an answer to prayer, an outcome of the work that FOCUS does on campuses across the country and a result of formation not only in families, but also in schools committed to liberal arts education, like Benedictine College.

Due to my many years of service in diocesan Catholic schools, I couldn’t help but reflect upon the need for missionary disciples in elementary and secondary Catholic schools, most especially after Cardinal Dolan’s homily on January 4, the feast of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, patron saints of teachers and the first native born American to be canonized a saint. In addition to his personable banter and vivid retelling of Seton’s conversion, Cardinal Dolan highlighted the two central mysteries of our Catholic faith: the Trinity and the Incarnation.

Wrapped up in these two mysteries is the fullness of life – who we are, why we exist and how we thrive. We are made in the image and likeness of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our nature mirrors God in that we possess memory, intellect and will. The Incarnation – the Logos, the Word of God, Jesus Christ takes upon human flesh to redeem us. Christ, the Teacher: he is the Life, the Light and the Truth. We who seek to become disciples of Christ strive to know Him and by knowing Him to discover our true identity as sons and daughters of the Eternal Father.

Not only do these two mysteries contain the key to understanding our human nature, our purpose and our mission, but they issue an invitation to each of us to extend those truths into the world through missionary discipleship. Moreover, the mysteries reveal how to teach, how to hand down these truths, by forming the memory, the intellect and the will, i.e., the whole person, and by grounding education in reality, immersing education in the real.

Thus, SEEK24 helped me to consider how the call to missionary discipleship is a call to teach.  My hope is that some or many of this year’s attendees at SEEK24 will hear that call because we need Catholic school teachers devoted to the Truth now more than ever. The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few!

May the graces received by all the participants and vendors at SEEK24 be made fruitful through ongoing prayer and devotion to the Eucharist so that the hearts of many may continue to be turned toward the Lord!


*As an aside, God doesn’t typically called the equipped, but rather He equips those called. So if you need some equipping in response to God’s invitation to become a teacher, let me know!

Krystyn Schmerbeck

Krystyn Schmerbeck is Director of Graduate Studies in Classical Education at Benedictine College. Originally from Rochester, NY, has traveled far and wide in the search for Truth. After studying Classical Languages and Philosophy as an undergraduate student, Krystyn ventured into public policy and eventually the religious life before discovering her vocation as a Catholic educator. Over the past twelve years, Krystyn has served as a teacher, a principal and an instructional coach in both diocesan and classical schools. Krystyn holds a master’s degree in public policy from George Washington University, a master’s degree in Catholic School Leadership from Marymount University in Virginia and is currently enrolled in doctoral studies at the University of St. Thomas University in Houston, Texas.