Your Faithful Support Forms Students to be like Christ
You lovingly send out FOCUS missionaries to share the joy of the Gospel. When they set foot on campus, they need to know how to transmit a way of life and call students to “be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). That is where the world-class formation they receive comes into play.
Have you ever wondered how FOCUS forms and educates staff?
God works through a formation process—classes and seminars geared to help staff develop the habits of Christ—to help His disciples grow in holiness and become more like Him: humanly, spiritually, intellectually and apostolically.
This formation is not limited to FOCUS staff members; aspects of formation are given to all students who participate in FOCUS mission trips, SEEK, retreats and Summer Projects. Today you get to read about some of the incredible, unbounded fruits that God has produced through these opportunities—opportunities YOU make possible!
The Formation You Bring to Students and Missionaries Each Year
FOCUS strives to raise missionary disciples of Christ by forming them deeply in these pillars of formation:
Taking on the character and virtues of Christ. Examples:
- Virtue: prudence, temperance, justice, fortitude
- Character: peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, joy
- Emotional intelligence, relational ability, communication (verbal and nonverbal), honesty, dependability and professionalism
Growing in the ability to think with the mind of Christ and the Church. Examples:
- Reading Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the lives of the saints
- Studying the teachings of the Church
- Listening to or watching spiritually formative podcasts
Encountering God and entering into relationship with Him. Examples:
- Prayer and discernment
- Regular reception of the sacraments, including Mass and confession
- Sabbath living
Acquiring the mission-specific vision and skills to make disciples who make disciples. Examples:
- Leading a Bible study or another person in discipleship
- Having spiritual conversations and sharing the Gospel with others
Lifelong Mission through a FOCUS Summer Projects Experience
Summer Projects, which FOCUS began in 2016, is a ten-week program during a college student’s summer break, during which they work a paid summer job by day and receive world-class faith formation from FOCUS at night.
Summer Projects entails an intense yet rewarding schedule. Both before and after the workday, students spend 30 – 60 minutes each day in silent prayer, usually attend daily Mass with the on-site chaplain and meet weekly with a peer mentor. Each program includes a small group Bible study, a reading plan, a speaker series that includes two lectures a week and regular spiritual direction. Weekly recreational activities include white-water rafting, hikes, camping and other adventures.
“Summer Projects provided a greenhouse for virtue, holiness and friendship.”
Through this program, you’ve cultivated many “imitators of Christ”—such as Daniel Payne, a fourth-year missionary at Towson University in Towson, Maryland (pictured top right). He reflects that the “icing on the cake” in his conversion experience was at Summer Projects between his junior and senior years of college. As he was exposed to the four main areas of formation, he recalls, “It was a very natural crescendo of integrated living and it all seemed very natural, none of it forced. Summer Projects provided a greenhouse for virtue, holiness and friendship.”
Taking on the character and virtues of Christ
“I experienced the goodness and striving of those around me who I was living life with. The construction of the day-to-day life helped formed me humanly because it incorporated meals, friendship, work, prayer and fun. I encountered good and holy men who didn’t just want to compete against each other but who lifted me up and challenged me in my behavior, teaching me how to love.”
Growing in the ability to think with the mind of Christ and the Church
“We had two speakers every week [who have] doctorates in theology and chaplains who spoke on a wide variety of topics, from angels and demons to friendship and Theology of the Body. I still have some of the talks recorded!”
“Without experiences like Summer Projects … I would never have become … a man who continually desires to lead his family and students to heaven.”
Encountering God and entering into relationship with Him
“I was blessed to have Eucharistic adoration and Mass every day and to go to confession weekly (it was the first time I went to confession regularly). I learned about the weight of mortal sin. I didn’t know what a decade [of the Rosary] was and couldn’t recall how to pray a Hail Mary or the Our Father, so I slowly learned. I started a Marian consecration. It was like a fire hydrant of stuff. We learned Lectio Divina, and I prayed with Scripture outside the context of a Bible study for the first time.”
Acquiring the mission-specific vision and skills to make disciples who make disciples
“The apostolic formation came naturally to me because when I applied to Summer Projects, I invited two of my friends to apply with me, and they also [ended up serving with me]. I continually [endeavored to open] my eyes to see those who are unseen, and I spent a lot of time with people who didn’t fit in. It was my first time sharing my testimony [so often]. There was another Christian group working with us at the same time, and I invited some of the them to our get-togethers, Mass and talks. One in particular, Brad, would come to everything, and he became Catholic the following year. I got to pray his first Rosary with him and teach him things which I had just learned. I learned how to encourage others in a small group setting to talk and share. After this experience at Summer Projects, I became a FOCUS missionary!”
DAN WANTS TO THANK YOU
“To every benefactor, every prayer and every dollar makes a difference. It transformed this small-town Cheesehead into a striving, humble man of God. Without experiences like Summer Projects, I would have never become the man who I am today, a man who not only continually desires to lead his family and students to heaven, but who desires to teach others how to lead others to heaven. Give yourself … to Jesus in your everyday life because that it what will makes the difference in your parish and your family life.”