We give thanks to God for you!
From all of us at FOCUS, a heartfelt thank you. Each of you is courageously answering God’s call to enter one of the most critical mission fields in the world, and what you do could not be more critical. May God bless you!
Since FOCUS’ beginnings in 1998, our apostolate has been used as an instrument for the conversions of thousands of college students across the country. In our work on campus and through our conferences and mission trips, we continue to hear amazing stories of how God is transforming lives for Christ and His Church.
But none of FOCUS’ efforts would be possible without the invitation and support of chaplains and campus ministers on campus.
FOCUS’ outreach is designed to coordinate with the chaplain’s and campus minister’s current campus programs. Our missionaries’ goal is to meet students where they are on campus — in the dorms, on the sports fields, in the student union — and bring them into the life of the Catholic campus community.
Campus ministers often work to meet the needs of the students who come through the doors of the Newman or Catholic Center. In this way, we accomplish together the same goal of helping students encounter Jesus and the fullness of the Catholic faith. FOCUS also trains students to go out on campus to their peers, allowing the reach of the campus ministry to stretch even further across campus.
We are eager to partner with you. Let’s work together to reach souls.
FOCUS missionaries are inspired to share with others the joy they have received through their personal relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church. They go out onto campuses — on the field, in the cafeteria, at the student union, etc. — to meet students in their own environment, to share time with them and to invite them into a relationship with Christ and the Catholic campus community. Missionaries always seek to grow their relationship with Christ through prayer and the sacraments.
Missionaries follow the chaplain’s pastoral leadership in partnership with the campus ministry staff. You should expect the missionaries to strive for excellence in their work with students on campus.
Missionaries are trained each summer at New Staff Training (NST), a five-week intensive preparation for all new and veteran missionaries. They are trained in all of the elements which help them be successful missionaries on campus: Scripture, prayer, leadership, discipleship, evangelization, small-group facilitation, outreach and strategy, character, vision and various other skills.
When they join FOCUS, missionaries make an initial two-year commitment to the apostolate. Our on-campus staff are open to serving anywhere in the U.S.; some missionaries are reassigned to a new campus after one year. There are various factors that go into placements and moving missionaries.
Offer Mass at convenient times. Popular Mass times are noon, 5 p.m., and 9 or 10 p.m. Keep in mind that if your staff/students are trying to pray at 8 a.m. every day, a 10 p.m. Mass may not be practical.
Offer the sacrament of reconciliation daily. Many times missionaries encounter fallen-away Catholics who then desire to come back to the Church. When confession is regularly available, it helps the missionaries in the process of restoring Catholics back to full communion with the Church.
Pray with the missionaries and all the campus ministry staff. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, all of the staff and missionaries pray a holy hour at 8 a.m. In the first year, they had five students attending holy hour; by year three, between 40 – 60 were showing up every morning.
Offer spiritual direction to your students. Missionaries are not spiritual directors, even though in discipleship spiritual things do come up. Our missionaries are directed to encourage students to find spiritual directors. Over time, you might not be able to spiritually direct all the students coming through the doors, so providing a list of good spiritual directors in the area would help tremendously.
Emphasize unity. It can be easy for there to be Newman Center students and FOCUS students. If the FOCUS missionaries are just a branch of the entire Newman Center Campus Ministry, this division can be avoided. Talk to the missionaries about adopting an overarching vision for the entire campus ministry on your campus.
In Their Own Words
If you’re looking for hope, look to FOCUS. If you’re looking for the future of the Church, you’ve found it in FOCUS.
- His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York
No one does a more dynamic job reaching college students for Christ than FOCUS.
- Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia
From day one, I knew that FOCUS had to be integral to the evangelization of the 5,000 Catholics at Eastern Washington University.
- Father Paul Heric, Chaplain at Eastern Washington University
I was consistently amazed by the college kids who gathered together seeking to live their Catholic faith boldly and to share in the New Evangelization.
- Father Peter Nassetta, Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministry at George Mason University
FOCUS is one of the best examples of the New Evangelization today, letting loose the power of the Gospel for the transformation of the world. Through their work on campus, they are forming our future leaders, so that these graduates will not just go on to be lawyers, teachers, and business people, but Catholic lawyers, Catholic teachers, and Catholic business people who will impact society, and the world, by spreading the fullness of truth found in Jesus Christ and His Church.