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Updated: Oct 28, 2019

How to Prepare for the Experience of a Lifetime! 

If you’re one of the thousands of young people coming to SLS20 Phoenix in December, a bit of preparation will help you get the most out of the conference.

One of the speakers at SLS20 is Fr. Mike Schmitz, a campus minister, popular author and speaker. While we cannot predict what Fr. Mike will talk about, it would be good to look at the issue of discernment and decision-making, since Fr. Mike is an expert in this area

Watch the above video of Fr. Mike’s YouTube videos, “4 Helpful Rules of Discernment,”

In the above video, Fr. Mike says that discernment and decision making holds true whether we are deciding about whether to pursue a relationship, choose a college, or decide upon a major. Or, more fundamentally, whether we choose our vocation in life, such as priesthood, religious life, married life or the single life, Fr. Mike says.

Fr. Mike gives four tips, or guides, when it comes to making big decisions in one’s life. He calls these four “doors.”

Four “Doors” of Discernment

  • A Good Door? Is this a morally good choice? Or at least a neutral one?

  • An Open Door? Is this a real possibility for me? If I’m trying to become an NBA basketball player, this door may not be open to me.

  • A Wise Door? Who am I meant to be? Will this decision help me reach where I should be going?

  • Do I Want It? Our heart’s desire is important. I need to take responsibility and make a decision.

The last door, “do I want it” is the one that most people get upset about, according to Fr. Mike Schmitz. People often don’t want to take the responsibility of making a decision. They claim that they want to leave it in God’s hands, but they are really shirking responsibility. Making decisions is one of the marks of adulthood. 

Finally, even if you make the wrong decision, or a poor one, the Lord will be with you. You have done your best, and God will help you along the way.

FOCUS SLS20 - Purpose

Sponsored by FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), the SLS conferences are centered on training college students and young people as Church and ministry leaders. The organizers say on their website that the conferences provides: 

“the chance to come together by the thousands to learn about the Catholic faith, to experience genuine fellowship and to unite as members of the Body of Christ.”

One of the conference’s goals is to train attendees to become FOCUS missionaries. The FOCUS website states that “FOCUS missionaries set out on a courageous journey to college campuses, eager to reach students wherever they are with the gospel message.”

Breakout talks will be held at the conference, which will be in Phoenix, AZ from Dec. 30 through Jan. 3. The breakouts will concentrate on three tracks: Collegiate Track, Making Missionary Disciples Track, and the Campus Ministry Track.

The SLS20 website states that, “At SLS20, be inspired and equipped to speak the Truth with conviction and receive the encouragement and training you need to become the missionary disciple you’re made to be.”

Another series of conferences sponsored by FOCUS is SEEK, which is similar to SLS but is geared toward collegians and young people in general. Each year, the conference alternates between SEEK and SLS conferences.

Opportunity to Meet Religious

Besides great speakers, musicians and uplifting liturgies, the conferences host perhaps as many as one hundred booths of religious orders and Catholic ministries. Catholic young people get the opportunity to meet good and holy men and women in religious communities, and consider whether God is calling them to consecrated or religious life, or the priesthood.

The number of zealous religious communities is on the rise throughout the United States, and yet many people do not have the opportunity to see the lives of these men and women in their own home towns. In meeting these religious, conference attendees get the opportunity to start friendships with the members, and even to follow up with a visit or a discernment retreat if they want to learn more about the communities.

Some college-age persons get a real glimpse of religious life for the first time in their lives at such events, since some of them rarely if ever see consecrated persons at their own parishes, outside of their parish priests. In deepening their knowledge and experience of religious and consecrated persons, they are better able to make a decision whether God is calling them to married life, single life, or the consecrated or religious life, or the priesthood.

Religious communities are eager to act as a means of grace for those who attend. Whether those whom they meet follow through with a religious vocation, the entire Church is strengthened and lifted up by the experience of the SLS and SEEK conferences.

Young persons are encouraged to prayerfully consider coming to the conference. They will no doubt deepen their knowledge of the Catholic faith, their relationship with God, and make new friends as well! 

Look for the Order of Mercy

The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy will be at the conference, so come on by and look for our booth! Check out our Seek2019 post.

If you are a man age 18 - 35, and your life centers around the Blessed Mother, the Most Blessed Sacrament, love for the Magesterium and the truths of the Catholic Faith, we invite you to consider discerning a vocation with us. Please visit our vocations page, “Become a Mercedarian.”


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