DENVER, April 23, 2019 — During his keynote address at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast (NCPB) April 23 in Washington, D.C., Curtis Martin, founder and CEO of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), offered a message of “challenge, invitation and finally hope” for the transformation of the Catholic Church through a “Catholic Great Awakening.” The full keynote transcription can be found here: Curtis Martin's Keynote Speech at National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.
“There's a pattern in salvation history that goes back into the age of the patriarchs and through the prophets and all the way into the New Testament,” said Martin, who founded FOCUS in 1998. With nearly 700 missionaries serving on 153 college campuses, FOCUS is one of the fastest-growing college outreach apostolates in the Catholic Church.
“It begins by this, there are several steps: God graciously offers us covenant. He establishes His people. We don't deserve His covenant, we don't deserve His love, we could never deserve it — but He offers it freely. And then He welcomes us into the family. And then He does what any good father would do: He blesses His children. The second step is that He brings blessings. And the third step, we get distracted by the blessings and forget the giver of the gift and get distracted by the gift itself.”
Martin spoke of the suffering from forsaking the covenant of God, and in the midst of suffering, God's people “cry out to God for mercy, and He hears them, and He offers mercy, and He renews the covenant. And we live in right relationship and blessing again.”
He added, “… we're suffering because we as a people have turned our back on God's covenant, that have broken so many of the things we've been asked to … We don't need to work harder; we need to fall farther — to our knees, to beg God because He's the one who will do the work. He's the only one that can bring renewal to this nation.”
Martin later added, “this generation of young people are the greatest survivors of the holocaust against the unborn, and the newly born in the history of the world … We need to proclaim the Gospel to them because, when they wake up, they will vanquish the devil in this generation. We need to understand these are chosen young people, they're survivors by God's design, and the design does not mean just to breathe. It means to triumph in Christ.”
Martin ended with a challenge: “I appeal to you today as brothers and sisters: Wouldn't it be a great time for a Catholic Great Awakening, where we would be the first to lead our way by falling on our knees to God and begging for mercy?"
The full keynote transcription of Martin’s talk can be found at Curtis Martin's Keynote Speech at National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. EWTN Global Catholic Network livestreamed the NCPB on Facebook.
Previous keynote speakers at NCPB include Vice President Mike Pence (2017) and former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan (2018). Additional speakers for 2019 were Sr. Bethany Madonna, S.V., the Most Reverend Thomas Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, Pro-life Heroine of Unplanned Abby Johnson and Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.
FOCUS is hosting its first-ever FOCUS Giving Day April 29. To honor the year FOCUS was founded (1998), the day will provide 1,998 minutes to donate to specific initiatives, such as missionary training, FOCUS mission trips, alumni and parish outreach, and several others: https://www.focus.org/givingday.
In 2018, Martin released “Making Missionary Disciples: How to Live the Method Modeled by the Master,” outlining the approach to evangelization modeled for us by Jesus in the Gospels and rooted in Catholic magisterial teaching.
Martin holds a master’s degree in theology and the author of the best-selling book, “Made for More.” Martin is likewise the co-author of “The Real Story: Understanding the Big Picture of the Bible” with Dr. Edward Sri and “Boys to Men: The Transforming Power of Virtue” with Dr. Tim Gray. Martin was appointed to serve as a Consultor to the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization. He and his wife, Michaelann, live in Colorado. They have been blessed with nine children.
The Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) was founded in 1998 and invites college students into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church, inspiring and equipping them for a lifetime of Christ-centered evangelization, discipleship and friendships in which they lead others to do the same. During the 2018 – 2019 academic year, nearly 700 missionaries are serving full-time on 153 college campuses, located across 42 U.S. states and at five international locations. Tens of thousands of students have been involved with FOCUS, who after graduation have the opportunity to move into parish life to continue their missionary work. Among these FOCUS Alumni, 732 have made decisions to pursue Catholic religious vocations. By 2022, FOCUS expects — God willing — to have 75,000 students transitioned into many of 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. focus.org