DENVER, July 15, 2021 — As campuses return to in-person learning and parishes start hosting local events, tens of thousands of people seeking fellowship, connection and joy will have the opportunity to encounter Christ through missionaries serving with FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students). Founded more than 20 years ago, FOCUS is collaborating with campus ministries and parishes to send nearly 800 missionaries to serve at 205 locations, which includes 22 parish venues across the U.S. and seven international campuses. By 2026, FOCUS expects to have nearly 1,300 missionaries serving on more than 250 campuses and dozens of parishes.
An important blessing of a fruitful partnership between the local campus ministry and FOCUS has been the pursuit of religious vocations. Within five years, FOCUS expects that nearly 2,000 people will have entered the seminary or religious house of formation after involvement with FOCUS on college campuses, as more than 1,000 already have.
New FOCUS campus locations include the University of Georgia, the University of Miami, Clemson University and the University of Krems in Austria. FOCUS Digital Outreach missionaries will also be serving new campuses, including the University of Hawaii and San Francisco State University. New parish venues include St. Raymond Catholic Church in Menlo Park, California, and Mary, Seat of Wisdom Catholic Church in Park Ridge, Illinois.
Through Bible studies, outreach events, mission trips and personal encounters, FOCUS missionaries inspire and build up students and parishioners in the faith, sending them out to spread the good news and to live out the Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Mt. 28:19).
"Our FOCUS missionaries bring the love of Jesus and the joy of the Good News to the men and women on our campus through a joyful witness and deep, personal investment," said Fr. Patrick Hyde, OP, the pastor and director of Campus Ministry at St. Paul Catholic Center at Indiana University. "This witness has been effective, also, as our ministry has nearly quadrupled since we partnered with FOCUS. The joyful witness of our FOCUS missionaries has changed and enhanced our ministry to better reach and equip our students with the Good News."
“For more than two decades, FOCUS missionaries have been such a gift to the Church by modeling what it means to be a missionary disciple in real life and raising others to share the Gospel,” said Brian Miller, director of Evangelization and Discipleship for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He served as a FOCUS missionary from 2006 to 2010 and is one of nearly 40,000 FOCUS alumni across the country. By 2026, FOCUS expects to have more than 70,000 alumni. “My time as a missionary with FOCUS developed in me an evangelical zeal that has driven not only my career, but my entire life. I don’t know where I’d be without my FOCUS experience.”
“Our parish missionaries are transforming our parish culture into a culture of mission,” said Fr. Matt Foley, the former pastor of St. James Catholic Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois, where FOCUS missionaries have served for more than five years. “Their work has helped so many of our parishioners, staff and clergy live as true missionary disciples in our daily lives. People are more confident and equipped to share the faith and are bringing their evangelistic passion into all areas of parish life — over coffee, in their families, in conversations with parents after school, in various ministries and small groups. And most of all, these ordinary lay leaders aren’t just evangelizers. They are training others to go out and share the Gospel themselves.”
FOCUS missionary Anjelo Rocero will lead the FOCUS team at Drexel University, where FOCUS has served since 2018. “Coming back to Philadelphia to serve at Drexel, I can feel how much new life the Lord wants to bring forth here. After a subdued year of virtual ministry, it is so exciting to work with the campus ministry to plan fall outreach activities that will reawaken zeal among our students such as the Freshman Novus Retreat and Welcome BBQ! We’ll be inviting students to further deepen their faith by joining a Bible study, attending SEEK22 or serving on a FOCUS mission trip. There is a real hunger for connection among college students right now, and I can't wait to see how God uses us this year!"
The following are the eight new FOCUS campus locations for 2021 – 2022:
- Bowling Green University — Bowling Green, Ohio
- California State University, Northridge — Los Angeles, California
- Clemson University — Clemson, South Carolina
- Mississippi State University — Starkville, Mississippi
- University of Central Oklahoma — Edmond, Oklahoma
- University of Georgia — Athens, Georgia
- University of Miami — Miami, Florida
- University of Krems, Austria
In addition, FOCUS Digital Outreach missionaries share the Gospel and mentor students who are not attending a campus with a FOCUS team. Digital Outreach missionaries mentor more than 270 students from 164 campuses with virtual Bible studies and weekly conversations. This fall, they will also be working with seven new campuses in partnership with the campus chaplains. The missionaries will work with students on these campuses similarly to how campus missionaries serve:
- Butler University — Indianapolis, Indiana
- College of William & Mary — Williamsburg, Virginia
- Missouri University of Science & Technology — Rolla, Missouri
- Ohio Northern University — Ada, Ohio
- San Francisco State University — San Francisco, California
- University of Alabama in Huntsville — Huntsville, Alabama
- University of Hawaii — Honolulu, Hawaii
- The International team is digitally serving in Monterrey, Mexico
Parish Outreach takes FOCUS’ model of spiritual multiplication from the campus to the parish. Experienced campus missionaries transition to the parish mission field and offer their evangelization skills and training to teach parishioners how to pray, evangelize and make disciples of others.
FOCUS parish missionaries will serve in these new parish venues:
- All Saints/Holy Family/St. Rose of Lima family of parishes — Northeast Nebraska
- Archdiocese of Denver, Colorado
- Diocese of Spokane, Washington
- Esto Vir — Green Bay, Wisconsin
- Mary, Seat of Wisdom Catholic Church — Park Ridge, Illinois
- Our Lady of the Valley — Windsor, Colorado
- St. Raymond Catholic Church — Menlo Park, California
FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) 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. Nearly 800 FOCUS missionaries will serve at 205 locations, which includes 22 parish venues across the U.S. and seven international campuses. By 2026, FOCUS expects to have nearly 1,300 missionaries serving on more than 250 campuses and dozens of parishes. FOCUS alumni, now nearly 40,000 strong, are living and serving in parishes and communities across the country. By 2026, FOCUS expects to have more than 70,000 alumni. 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. FOCUS expects to nearly double that number in the next five 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. focus.org