FOCUS Lifelong Mission Serves Post-collegiate Missionary Disciples

Partnerships with parishes and dioceses cultivate deep lives of prayer and practical skills for mission that bless and impact the entire Church

DENVER, Nov. 2, 2022 — America’s 17,000 Catholic parishes have a critically important role to play in the New Evangelization. Parishes are the arms of the Church where people are loved and cared for, where the lost are found and where people can encounter Christ in prayer and in the sacraments. They are in need of renewal.  

FOCUS cannot ignore the urgency to raise missionary disciples in parishes, families and workplaces to serve as leaven in the culture. FOCUS is a missionary discipleship organization that has spent 25 years sharing the Gospel on college campuses as the most leveraged point to launch disciples into lifelong mission. Because of that experience, the apostolate has a unique opportunity to translate the principles and methods that have impacted more than 50,000 FOCUS alumni into all arenas of Church life. 

The FOCUS Lifelong Mission team serves post-collegiate missionary disciples by inspiring and equipping FOCUS alumni, priests, parishioners, and diocesan and parish leaders through deep lives of prayer and practical skills for mission that will bless and impact the entire Church. 

“Having a FOCUS parish missionary is like having an early Church disciple at our parish whose only concern is to witness the love of Jesus Christ to our community,” said Fr. Jerome Cudden, OP, the pastor of St. Raymond Church, Menlo Park, California. “To date, Tina Augustine's greatest impact has been with small faith-sharing groups. Lifelong Catholics have shared with me that they never understood their faith and relationship with Jesus Christ in such a personal and spiritual way.” 

The approach of the Lifelong Mission team is flexible to fit the needs of a local community and support their disciple-making efforts. Since 2015, FOCUS has sent full-time parish missionaries to serve pastors and their parishes through deep personal investment and accompaniment. Diocesan partnerships allow FOCUS to serve the needs of a diocese and support their evangelization efforts through training, pastor accompaniment, resources, workshops and more. FOCUS currently serves 23 parish locations. 

In Spokane, FOCUS missionary Jeremy Cassidy has partnered specifically with individual priests—and through those priests to their respective parishes and other assignments. Fr. Jeffrey Lewis of St. Mary Catholic Church, Spokane Valley, Washington, describes this partnership as “Jeremy mentoring me in the realm of intentional discipleship formation, that I may then be better equipped and more confident in discipling my parishioners.” 

Fr. Lewis shared, “The impact of this partnership (now going into our fourth year) includes many fruits: increased Mass attendance, increased confessions, an increasing roster of registered households (which itself could be the result of a variety of factors, I realize). My parish already had a lot going on; now, much of what we have going on has seen greater attendance in membership and a heightened intentionality of purpose. All that in addition to a non-tangible air of what many new parishioners tell me, ‘There’s just something special happening here.’” 

Msgr. Ted L. Wojcicki, the pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, Dardenne Prairie, Missouri, also commented on the impact of having FOCUS missionaries at the parish: “When FOCUS missionaries joined our parish family four years ago, I immediately invited them to be part of the parish staff. They interact closely with all staff. We spend 15 – 30 minutes at each monthly staff meeting reviewing books such as Making Missionary Disciples and Foundations for Discipleship {by FOCUS Founders Curtis Martin and Dr. Edward Sri}. They help enhance the evangelization emphasis of all our parish ministries and organizations. We have additional and strengthened Bible studies and faith-sharing groups because of the presence of the FOCUS parish missionaries.”  

Alumni missionaries inspire and encourage former FOCUS missionaries and student leaders through local events, online formative resources and support so they can use the skills they learned on campus to build local communities of missionary disciples. Alumni and parishioners are expanding their impact to communities around the world through pilgrimages and mission trips with FOCUS Missions

FOCUS missionary alumna Paola Pena is the director of Evangelization at St. Pius X Parish in Fairfield, Connecticut. A few years ago, she began noticing gaps in her parish’s outreach efforts and encouraged more than 70 people to participate in SEEK21 and SEEK22. 

After SEEK22, Pena participated in continued formation through FOCUS in a Lenten Bible study and discipleship formation group. Through the parish’s participation in SEEK and the continued formation Pena received from FOCUS, the parish has begun to create a culture of small group evangelization. Now, 20 adults from the parish are being trained as leaders to launch small groups this fall. 

More than 1,600 parishes participated in SEEK22, which represents nearly 10% of all parishes in the U.S. Many dioceses and parishes will be participating in “SEEK23: You Are Called,” a five-day event hosted by FOCUS at the America’s Center Convention Complex in St. Louis, Missouri, Jan. 2 – 6, 2023. 

The SEEK23 Making Missionary Disciples Track will equip post-college attendees to help transform parishes, dioceses, families and communities through implementing the Church’s vision for missionary discipleship. It will include talks and workshops from parish evangelization experts on topics such as sharing one’s testimony, praying with others, accompaniment, evangelization in the parish and family, and much more. Registration is open at and includes special pricing for parishes, dioceses, seminarians, deacons, religious, priests and FOCUS staff alumni. 

Those unable to join others in St. Louis can still experience the very best of SEEK23 and have the opportunity to encounter the Lord alongside thousands of others through SEEK Where You Are, including the Small Group Experience ($675 for up to 10 people) and SEEK Parish Experience ($3,750). SEEK Where You Are allows parishes or individuals to experience SEEK with their local communities through recorded keynotes and break-out sessions (with access for six months after the conference), small group discussion and encounters with Christ through prayer and the sacraments locally. 

To keep the momentum going and to help small group leaders build their skills after SEEK23, Curtis Martin and Dr. Edward Sri will host a 12-week Post-SEEK23 Lenten Bible study, taking participants deep into the one story that matters most: the story of salvation history. 


FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) is a Catholic apostolate whose mission is to share the hope and joy of the Gospel. FOCUS missionaries encounter people in friendship, inviting them into a personal relationship with Christ and accompanying them as they pursue lives of virtue and excellence. Through Bible studies, outreach events, mission trips and discipleship, missionaries inspire and build up others in the faith, sending them out to live out lifelong Catholic mission wherever they are.  

For the 2022 – 2023 academic year, 861 missionaries are serving at 216 locations: 193 campus locations (including eight international campuses and 10 Digital Outreach campuses) and 23 parish locations. By 2027, FOCUS expects to have more than 1,000 missionaries serving in more than 250 locations around the world. FOCUS alumni, now more than 50,000 strong, are living and serving in parishes and communities across the country, including more than 10,000 trained for post-graduate evangelization. An important blessing of a fruitful partnership between the local campus ministry and FOCUS has been the pursuit of religious vocations. Since 1998, more than 1,000 people have entered the seminary or a religious house of formation after involvement with FOCUS on college campuses. Based on past experience, FOCUS expects that number to nearly double in the next 10 years. 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.