FOCUS Mission Trips Transform College Students and Communities Around the World
Since 2004, FOCUS Missions has shared the hope of the Gospel while serving the homeless, renovating community infrastructure, educating children, providing patient care services at medical clinics and more
DENVER, Mar. 8, 2023 — As Pope Benedict XVI wrote in Deus Caritas Est, “Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”
Since 2004, more than 14,000 college students, chaplains, FOCUS missionaries and alumni have encountered Christ and shared the Gospel while on FOCUS mission trips. During the current missions season (winter 2022 – summer 2023), more than 100 trips will give approximately 1,800 people the opportunity to serve others around the world, including a pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal. Visit focusmissions.org for details.
Cassidy Bellard, a student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, served a rural community in the Galapagos Islands during a trip with FOCUS Missions in 2022 — an experience that transformed her life.
“Through my encounters with the kids on the island, my fellow students, and especially our amazing FOCUS missionaries and our priest, I learned — not for the first time — that loving is hard, but it is always worth it,” said Bellard, who served alongside 19 other participants including a priest, FOCUS missionaries and Creatio missionaries. The team helped with several community projects and shared the hope and joy of the Gospel.
“The mission helped me understand the meaning of suffering as a way to better love another person,” said Bellard. “I saw the beauty of the Lord in the gift of His creation, and in the gift of the person in front of me, in the most profound way I’ve ever experienced. Coming home, I’ve found my sense of wonder renewed, my faith and trust in the Lord deepened and my desire for mission burning within my heart in a new way.”
By 2027, FOCUS Missions plans to host 200 mission trips every year, giving 4,000 participants the opportunity to make an impact on thousands of community members. For each trip, FOCUS partners with a local religious order, apostolate or organization that understands the community’s greatest need. Some teams serve the homeless and renovate community infrastructure, while others teach children or provide patient care services at medical clinics.
The first FOCUS mission trip for students discerning the priesthood and religious or consecrated life will take place this summer. During this trip to Kolkata, India, the team will serve alongside the Missionaries of Charity, walking in the footsteps of St. Teresa of Calcutta.
Two priests (of the Companions of Christ from the Archdiocese of Denver), one consecrated virgin, one married couple and a FOCUS team member will accompany the staff and students who are discerning consecrated life. The priests will lead talks on discernment and provide spiritual direction for all to dive deeper into prayer and God’s desire for each person’s individual vocation in life.
FOCUS Missions will lead a two-week pilgrimage to World Youth Day (WYD) in Lisbon, Portugal, held August 1 – 6. The trip will include the “In Via Conference” hosted by FOCUS in Coimbra, Portugal, along with scheduled WYD events in Lisbon.
Other specialized trips with FOCUS Missions include annual medical mission trips, Varsity Catholic Sport Camps and FOCUS Greek trips to locations such as the Dominican Republic, Belize and Costa Rica.
Many FOCUS alumni serve in ministries after leaving staff as one way to pursue their lifelong mission of evangelization. FOCUS Missions partners with several organizations, including BLOC Ministries, where FOCUS alumnus Devin Dunn works. Trip participants will work alongside their team, which serves urban city youth in the low-income neighborhood of Price Hill in Cincinnati.
FOCUS teams have also served alongside Christ in the City missionaries in Denver for many years, bringing the Gospel, friendship and hope to those experiencing homelessness. This year, FOCUS Missions will send a team to Philadelphia over spring break to serve at Christ in the City’s new mission location.
Many benefactors help change the lives of students and those whom they serve by supporting them on mission. The donation page is at focusoncampus.org/missions/donate.
FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) is a Catholic apostolate whose mission is to share the hope and joy of the Gospel. FOCUS missionaries encounter people in friendship, inviting them to a personal relationship with Christ and accompanying them as they pursue lives of virtue and excellence. Through Bible studies, outreach events, mission trips and discipleship, missionaries inspire and build up others in the faith, sending them out to live out lifelong Catholic mission wherever they are.
For the 2022 – 2023 academic year, 861 missionaries are serving at 216 locations: 193 campus locations (including eight international campuses and 10 Digital Outreach campuses) and 23 parish locations. FOCUS alumni, now more than 50,000 strong, are living and serving in parishes and communities across the country, including more than 10,000 trained for post-graduate evangelization. An important blessing of a fruitful partnership between the local campus ministry and FOCUS has been the pursuit of religious vocations. Since 1998, more than 1,000 people have entered the seminary or a religious house of formation after involvement with FOCUS on college campuses. Based on past experience, FOCUS expects that number to nearly double in the next 10 years. FOCUS missionaries are typically recent college graduates who devote two or more years of their post-collegiate lives to reach out to peers on campus. focus.org