FOCUS Kicks Off World Youth Day Lisbon Mission Trip with “In Via” International Conference
DENVER, (JULY 27, 2023) — Ahead of World Youth Day Lisbon, FOCUS is hosting the “In Via” international conference at Portugal’s oldest university, the University of Coimbra. Set to take place between Thursday, July 27 through Tuesday, August 1, the conference will be centered around a radical encounter with Christ in silence and the sacraments, in addition to offering talks and opportunities to cultivate new friendships. Approximately 100 pilgrims from both the United States and Europe will come together for this conference, as we are all truly “In Via” (on the way) together. The conference will culminate in a pilgrimage to Fátima, where the Virgin Mary appeared to three children in 1917, before ultimately heading to World Youth Day Lisbon with Pope Francis and hundreds of thousands of other faithful young people.
Jake Leins, Director of FOCUS Missions, expressed his gratitude to the conference organizers and what this mission trip means for the life of the Church, saying, “It is a privilege that FOCUS can walk alongside students, missionaries, staff, and families, as they encounter the universal Church this World Youth Day – and come to hear Christ’s voice in a new way.” Leins continued, stating, “We pray everyone comes back with even more fire for the Lord as we move forward in our mission to be disciples and make disciples of all nations. We’re excited to collaborate with the University of Coimbra for this conference, and thrilled to be exposed to the beauty and culture Portugal has to offer. I think the pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima will be especially meaningful, and I’m looking forward to hearing the message Our Holy Father offers the Church in Lisbon.”
The University of Coimbra was founded in 1290. Portugal has a rich history with the Catholic Church, which provides a great backdrop for the conference’s variety of keynote speakers including Danielle Brown, John Zimmer, Jeff Runyan, Fr. Kevin Dyer S.J., and Fr. John Ignatius M.C.. Breakout sessions will be led by Jessica Laurenzano, Natasha Tax, Tom and Therese Bruner, Jimmy Harrison, and Sarah Akers, among others. Music will be coordinated by professional guitarist and vocalist Kenny Kohlhaas.
FOCUS is an international Catholic outreach organization, serving nearly 200 college campuses and more than 20 parish communities. Through Bible Studies, mentorship, mission trips, conferences and partnerships with priests, bishops and parishes, FOCUS missionaries walk alongside students and parishioners in their journey of faith, inspiring and equipping them for a lifetime of Christ-centered evangelization and discipleship. Since FOCUS was founded in 1998, more than 1,000 people have entered the seminary or religious orders after connecting with a missionary on college campuses. More than 50,000 FOCUS alumni serve in parishes and communities across the world to continue their lifelong mission of evangelization and leading others to pursue lives of virtue and excellence. focus.org