Jack and Emily Perala

“Do not be afraid. Do not be satisfied with mediocrity. Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” – Saint John Paul the Great

Where I serve

This year I am called to serve at the University of Minnesota – Duluth. I am so excited to be in Duluth for another year as my wife Emily finishes her final year of her undergraduate degree! The majority of my efforts will be focused on reaching student athletes. I saw the collegiate athletic world firsthand, and I could not be more convicted of the need of each athlete for a loving friend. Emily and I also have the unique opportunity to be married on staff! We look forward to welcoming students into our home and modeling good family life for those who hope to be married themselves one day.

My Story

As I arrived at The College of Saint Scholastica my freshman year, I had a decision to make. I could live the typical life of a college athlete, or I could choose to be different. On one of the first weekends of class I made a simple decision: I chose to go to Sunday Mass at the Catholic Ministry Center at UMD. I did not go there with big hopes that my life would be changed, but I just showed up because I knew that Sunday Mass was important. I sat alone near the back of the church, and right before Mass began a man asked if he could sit next to me. I let him join me, and after Mass while chatting he revealed that he was a FOCUS Missionary that works specifically with athletes. This was certainly God’s providence playing out. After building a great friendship with this man, he invited me to join his Bible study and eventually taught me how to lead my own on the baseball team at Saint Scholastica. I had the great privilege to walk with my teammates towards Christ for three years, and it will remain the best experience I ever had as a college student. I became a FOCUS Missionary because I want to continue giving Christ an opportunity to love students who do not feel loved. Jesus Christ has called me to be friends with students and love them as He loves me.


These are four of my great friends and baseball teammates that I got to walk with in Bible Study.

Your Impact

You have the opportunity to be a missionary with me! Your prayers for me and my team give us spiritual power to serve the students at UMD, and your financial support allows us to be physically present to enter into the lives of each student the Lord brings us. Saint Therese of Lisieux is one of the patron saints of missionaries, and she never set foot out of the convent that she lived and prayed at! Similarly, you can have a missionary heart through your prayers and financial support. By doing either of these things, you are a spiritual superhero!

Find other missionaries

FOCUS brings the joy of the Gospel to colleges and parishes across the United States (and beyond)!
FOCUS Find A Missionary Know Love Serve God Monstrance

Know, Love and Serve God

We encounter God in an intimate relationship through daily prayer, the sacraments and the Scriptures.

FOCUS Find A Missionary Build Virtuous Friendships Together

Build Virtuous Friendships

By building genuine friendships, we meet students on a deeper level.

FOCUS Find A Missionary Teach Others Share Christ Smiling

Teach Others to Share Christ

We teach students how to share the gospel, who in turn teach other students how to pass it on.

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