The Fellowship of Catholic University Students (Focus) has a presence on 16 new campuses this academic year, with missionaries at Harvard University, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a new “digital campus.”
“We believe that the key to building a better future lies with the young leaders on campus,” Focus' president, Curtis Martin, said Aug. 23. “Our goal is to inspire thousands upon thousands of men and women who, 10 years from now, 20 years from now, 30 years from now, will be in positions of influence — such that they will transform our culture.”
The Colorado-based organization’s lay missionaries are typically recent college graduates who have committed two years or more to work in evangelization and campus outreach.
They go to college campuses at the invitation of the local bishop and with the local Catholic campus ministry’s support. They aim to communicate the Gospel to young adults through personal outreach and friendship.
Four missionaries based at the main office in Genesee, Colo., will offer missionary support to campuses without a team physically present through the new “digital campus.”
Missionary teams serve 74 campuses in 31 states, including the District of Columbia.
The organization has been a seedbed for vocations, with 384 participants entering religious life since its founding in 1998. In 2012 alone, 41 men and nine women who participated in Focus made a commitment to religious life.
New campuses include Franciscan University of Steubenville, Baylor University, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Oklahoma, Northwestern University and the University of Virginia. Other new campuses are the University of North Texas, Tulane University, the University of Mary Washington, the University of Tennessee, the University of Tulsa and the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse.
The same missionary team will serve Farleigh Dickinson University and Drew University in Madison, N.J.
The missionary organization began with two part-time missionaries on a single campus. It has grown to 361 full-time missionaries today.