Recognizing the dire need for Catholic campus outreach, and inspired by Pope John Paul II’s call to a “new evangelization”, Curtis Martin and his wife, Michaelann, founded FOCUS – the Fellowship of Catholic University Students – in 1998 at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.
Later that year, Curtis had the rare opportunity to meet Pope John Paul II and express to him the hope and vision he had for FOCUS. The Pope listened carefully and simply told Curtis, “Be soldiers.” Since then, FOCUS has forged ahead in the battlefield of the United States, impacting the faith lives of tens of thousands of college students through on-campus outreach and large-scale national conferences.
During the 2015-2016 academic year, nearly 500 missionaries will serve full time on 113 college campuses in 36 states and Washington, D.C. More than 20,000 FOCUS alumni are involved with parishes throughout the U.S. Within this number, 547 have made decisions to pursue Catholic religious vocations. By 2022, FOCUS expects to launch 75,000 alumni into America’s 17,000+ Catholic parishes. FOCUS missionaries are typically recent college graduates who devote two or more years of their post-collegiate lives to reach out to peers on campus.