I’m a second year missionary on the University College Dublin campus here in Ireland. I’d like to think I know the campus well after doing an undergraduate and a post-graduate degree here, and while the buildings change and the university is upgraded, the situation never changes: 25000+ students entering and going through university don’t get a sufficient opportunity to know they are loved by God. But in recent years we had FOCUS missionaries come onto campus like a squad of Navy SEALS and lives were changed! Suddenly daily mass attendance increased from 4 people to 30, vocations to the priesthood sprouted from bible study participants and students like myself encountered real and good friendships that were centred in Christ.
As with most Irish people I would go to Mass on Sunday and have little to no idea what was going on! Once that box was ticked, I considered myself Catholic and Heaven-bound. Oh boy was I missing out.
Meeting with one of FOCUS missionaries stationed on my campus 4 years ago was life changing as I was challenged to face down the daunting barrel of what the Catholic faith truly is. Life changing things are intimidating, but this was a good thing. By being invited into this ‘dialogue on the divine’ with this missionary who took true interest in me as a person and in my life, I found the greyscale landscape of campus begin to slowly gain colour as I learned more about the God who drew close to me at all places and all times (CCC 1). With trust in God and His tangible active part in my life and my engaging with all things, my life has become so much more full.
But Jesus taught us to pray “Our Father”, not “My Father”. All people are deserving of knowing God. So after 5 years on campus, I’m going to be giving a few more to full time missionary work so that people may be given the greatest chance to choose God amidst this noisy world!
As I mentioned above, all people are deserving of knowing God, and you cannot love what you do not know. As a FOCUS missionary I will be on the university campus, where a glamorous life is advertised to students that just will not fill. I hope to be a voice on campus for the faith, speaking with students so that God may not be omitted from the picture. Then, like in my story (and many others in UCD who are still here/ graduated), students may come to know and love God through the deep-meaningful-conversations, the bible discussion groups and virtuous and good friendships.
But I cannot do this alone, I need partners to join me on this mission! I implore you humbly, if you want the students who will become doctors, engineers, nurses, fathers and mothers, (etc.) to choose/ retain faith in college – please consider partnering with me by supporting me!