The Catholic Defender: We need to re-F.O.C.U.S. Our Catholic Faith
Brothers and sisters: If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it! If I do so willingly, I have a recompense, but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship.
What then is my recompense? That, when I preach, I offer the gospel free of charge so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel. Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it.
I recently met Father Jay Buhman from Nebraska who said Mass for us as a Missionary priest representing "FOCUS" that works to help navigate College age Catholics in a secular world.
1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23 speaks loudly for this importance! By virtue of our Baptism and Confirmation, like St. Paul, we are all called to "preach the Gospel" through what ever means we may have. This is the second time the Scriptures call for a willing heart. Here St. Paul speaks about serving Christ with a willing heart, so does St. Peter calling the clergy to do as well:
"So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed. Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock." 1 Peter 5:1-3
As Catholic Parents, we are alarmed at how many of our youth loose their faith in College, even some "Catholic" colleges bear little resemblance anymore. FOCUS asks the question, "Who will recover this lost generation?"
Bringing College Students Back To Their Faith
FOCUS is inspired by St. Pope John Paul II's call to a "new evangelization"! The founder of FOCUS (the Fellowship of Catholic University Students), Curtis Martin reports that since 1998, FOCUS has grown from four missionaries serving one campus in 1998 to more than 550 missionaries serving 125 U.S. campuses and two international locations in the 2016-17 academic year.
FOCUS missionaries spend time with students deepening their faith and love and His holy Catholic Church! FOCUS is building a joyful, Christ centered community and support network on each campus, where students join the missionaries at Mass, Bible studies and daily prayer. Students also learn how to bring others into the faith.
Lauren, Student at George Mason University states, "Slowly, I began to stop heading out with my friends to the'thirsty Thursday' parties and instead accepted an invitation from Carmen, a FOCUS missionary, to Mass. Later that school year I was fully received into the Church with Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation. I now lead a Bible study of my own. FOCUS encouraged me to come to the Catholic faith and taught me how to share it with others."
Greg Doring, a one time FOCUS Missionary states, "FOCUS gave me so much, really showing me what the Christian life and Catholic virtues look in action. My experience within the mission changed how I see the world and how I approach my vocation, now as a husband, father, parishioner and businessman. I want my children's future to have a Catholic Church that is vibrant and dynamic, and FOCUS is paving the way for that."
Most Rev. Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. Archbishop of Philadelphia (home of the Eagles), "College students are tomorrow's Church leaders, and the work of FOCUS is vital to the Church's future. I have rarely seen any organization that has been able to stir up the enthusiasm of young college students as this one has."
Margaret Kelly, FOCUS Benefactor, Retired RE/MAX CEO states, "Seeing the FOCUS students is inspiring and gives us hope for the future of the Catholic Church. They are encouraged to be open about their faith and share it with others. Kids want to make a difference in life, and FOCUS is guiding them along the right path."
Most Rev. Robert Barron, Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles and Founder of Word of Fire states, "FOCUS is forming our future leaders so that these graduates will not just go on to be lawyers, teachers, and business people, but Catholic lawyers, Catholic teachers and Catholic business people who will impact society and the world by spreading the fullness of truth founded in Jesus Christ and His Church."
With your prayers, FOCUS will:
Expand beyond 125 campuses and two international locations in 2017
Involve more than 18,500 students in Catholic Bible studies aimed at securing them in the faith
Encourage students to discern their vocation; more than 605 FOCUS alumni have made the decision to pursue the priesthood or religious life since our inception
Add to the more than 20,000 FOCUS alumni now carrying out lifelong Catholic mission in America's 17,000+ Catholic parishes, their families and workplaces
Father Jay Buhman's promotion of FOCUS is catching and hopefully seeing fires all across the Country and beyond. Especially reaching out to Catholic students who may feel overwhelmed by the constant attacks on the faith, providing encouragement.
As parents, FOCUS provides much hope for the salvation of their children. Some have fallen away, most by the age of 23. I love James 5:19-20:
"My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins."
I encourage you to ask about a FOCUS group that might be in your area.