DENVER, Nov. 23, 2020 — FOCUS Missions is the largest Catholic missions program and one-third the size of the Peace Corp. Since 2004, more than 12,000 college students, chaplains and FOCUSmissionaries have served on more than 700 FOCUS mission trips around the world. In 2020, most trips were canceled, and the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted a significant and growing demand for service to those in need in the United States.
FOCUS Missions is moving forward with an updated 2020 – 2021 program which will involve hosting nearly 100 mission trips in the U.S. and around the world to serve the poor and share the message of the Gospel. In 2018 – 2019, more than 2,400 people attended FOCUS mission trips, but with the modified schedule, FOCUS Missions anticipates more than 1,700 students will participate on trips next year to encounter and serve the poor.
“I was beyond blessed to be a part of this mission trip, and the memories made on this trip I will carry in my heart forever,” said Sabrina Inzunza, who participated in a FOCUS mission trip to Mexico City in March 2020. “It truly changed me and my perspective on almost everything. Our Lady of Guadalupe wrapped me up in her arms and brought me closer to her Son, Jesus Christ.”
Nearly 30 domestic trips are planned for winter and spring break, which are open to students residing within the U.S. Among the nearly 70 summer trips currently scheduled, Japan, Jordan and Medjugorje are three new locations that will host mission trips. The deadline for spring mission trips is Nov. 30, and the deadline for summer mission trips is Feb. 15.
FOCUS Missions has always partnered with existing Catholic ministries that understand the unique needs of each community and ensure projects are sustainable. A new domestic partner organization for 2021 is Family Missions Company (FMC). Mission trip participants will work closely with FMC in Abbeville, Louisiana, to proclaim the Gospel and serve the poor.
The top priority of FOCUS Missions is the safety of participants, staff and the people in local communities who are encountered on mission. Keeping in mind safety guidelines and travel restrictions, the FOCUS Missions team will continue to work closely with domestic and international hosts throughout the upcoming mission program year. FOCUS mission trips will operate within COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions as determined by location.
“FOCUS mission trip participants serve the physical and spiritual needs of the poor, meeting them where they are and embracing their community and dignity,” said Tom Bruner, director of FOCUS Missions. “Through these challenging trips, college students experience life-changing encounters in which we equip them to address the spiritual and physical needs of their own communities as well. FOCUS Missions is essential for us as a Catholic missionary organization to pursue and share the fullness of our faith around the world. FOCUS Missions seeks to accomplish every aspect of our missions in, for and through the truth of the Catholic Faith. One example of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is that FOCUS Missions averages one religious vocation per trip.”
FOCUS Missions will continue to purchase travel insurance on behalf of all participants. Additionally, FOCUS Missions has added “Cancel for Any Reason” insurance options that are recommended for all participants to protect the financial gifts of mission partners who donate to cover the cost of the trips. More information on insurance programs is at focusoncampus.org/missions/insuring-your-trip. Details about FOCUS mission trips, along with applications for spring trips (deadline Nov. 30) and summer trips (deadline Feb. 15), can be found at focusoncampus.org/missions/trips.
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 2020 – 2021 academic year, nearly 800 FOCUS missionaries are serving on 171 campusesand nine parishes across the U.S. and Europe. 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. An important blessing of a fruitful partnership between the local campus ministry and FOCUS has been the pursuit of religious vocations. Over the past 20 years, 959 people have entered the seminary or a religious house of formation after involvement with FOCUS on college campuses. 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