I’m currently in my ninth year with FOCUS, serving on the Events planning team in Denver. I am currently in charge of every event that FOCUS produces other than our national conference and our new staff training. I oversee around 30 events per year that include recruitment weekends for potential missionary staff, parishioner gatherings, and priest summits. It’s a joy to use my gifts and talents to create these events that provide opportunities for encounter to students and adults around the world.
My first four years on FOCUS staff were spent on the campus of James Madison University in Virginia. I loved my time on campus working directly with students, and now I am very excited about my role on the Events team where we get to impact thousands of students and parishioners across the country. SEEK2019, in January 2019, was my first conference serving on the Events team; it was probably the most stressful time of my entire life, but I loved every second of it and we welcomed over 17,000 students and parishioners to Indianapolis for five days of prayer, formative talks, and camaraderie!
On July 23, 2021, Erica and I got married at her family parish in Buffalo, NY. Then on July 27, 2022, we welcomed Sophia Ernst into this world. It’s been a wonderful adventure!
I entered my freshman year at the University of Maryland with a solid upbringing in the Catholic faith; I had gone to Catholic school from kindergarten through high school at Gonzaga College High School, and I was involved with my parish throughout that time. However, in all of that time, I had not made the faith my own yet. I did not get too involved with the Catholic Terps group on campus until a friend introduced me to a FOCUS missionary at Maryland. Through his example and the examples of other upperclassmen I met, I saw the faith and joy of Christ radiating from them and desired that for myself. That missionary walked with me on my faith journey, showing me how to live out the Catholic faith I had grown up with through the sacraments, bible study, and my moral choices. That spark grew within me through the annual FOCUS conferences I attended as well as getting involved with discipleship under a FOCUS student leader in which I lead a weekly bible study for underclassmen.
My contact with the FOCUS missionaries on campus sparked the faith that my parents had instilled within me during me time at home and in Catholic school. At that critical time when I was just starting to make my own decisions, that contact was a gift from God; my life today would have been completely different if I had not found the faith.
It is that opportunity for growth that I want to pass on to students around the country through FOCUS events. I hope to welcome the students that attend into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, wherever they are in their faith journey, and give them the guidance that was provided to me.
This mission is becoming increasingly important in today s world, and I need your help! Today, 90% of students lose their faith in their four years on campus. Through your prayers and financial support, you can help me to more fully serve the students on the James Madison University campus and combat this staggering statistic.
All donations are 100% tax deductible! If you have any questions or prayer requests or would like to talk more about my mission, feel free to reach out!
Thank you for your prayers and support!