Sunday, July 30, 2006

Org Profile: FOCUS - Fellowship of Catholic University Students

I often get an opportunity to listen to Teresa Tomeo's morning program, Catholic Connection, via Sirius Satellite Radio, which carries EWTN, and ultimately, a small segment of Ave Maria Radio out of Ann Arbor, MI. Much of what she has centers on life issues, which have been very good. This is how I learned about Fr. Tad Pacholczyk and the National Catholic Bioethics Center. Each week she has on a steady crew of fine people, including Fr. Frank Pavone & Janet Morana of Priests for Life, and Moral Theologian - Pia de Solenni, PhD. Dr. de Solenni is also Family Research Center's Director of Life and Women's Issues.

Teresa often has other guests on, such as philosopher, Alice von Hildebrand, along with lesser known people like a young man named Jason, who represented an organization called FOCUS - the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. Jason was reporting either from Spain, or had just gotten back from an evangelization mission there and was explaining some of what they did.

Keep in mind that many of the usual missionary countries are not the only ones in need of evangelization. In many countries of the west, including the US, and especially true in Europe from what I hear, people have become indifferent to authentic Christianity. They have fallen to the world.


Jason and his peers spent part of their summer vacation in Spain, evangelizing through an unusual means and that is what caught my attention. I'll give you the flavor of it....

Take a dozen or two of college students, put them on a plane for Spain, armed with Rosaries, the Divine Office, Bibles, and sleeping bags, and you get in interesting reaction from the locals. Jason went on to explain what a routine day was like. I took some notes:

All of this was done as they walked or sat in public areas and people were interested in what they were doing.

They would rise early in the morning to pray the Angelus, which was prayed at 6am, noon, and 6pm, which is protocol for this devotion to the Blessed Mother.

They would hike through various areas, simply praying their Rosary, and some people would follow them, then inquire what they were doing after they were done. Some, who knew, would join them. Among those who followed them, were non-believers, whom they had a chance to share the faith with. People asked for help in learning how to pray the Rosary.

They would sit outside and pray the Liturgy of the Hours (LoTH), which for many apostolates includes Lauds in the morning, Vespers in the evening, and Compline at bedtime. I can't recall if they did all of these, or just Lauds. For those who do not know what is contained in the LoTH, you can get an idea at, which is an online subscription service. I subscribe, but I do know at one time, they provided samples if you clicked around. It's very scriptural. As with the Rosary, people were interested in what they were doing and they would explain it when they were done, being a testimony through example. According to Jason, there was strong, positive reaction to witnessing them pray the LoTH - thinking it was cool, and wanting to learn, just like with the Rosary.

Toward's evening they had a holy hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament, before the evening Mass - daily.

This is only some of what I was able to write down as Jason talked about the experience. As I listened, I couldn't help think of St. Francis and how he use to preach, without words, just by walking through town. Their presence was their testimony to the faith. In a like manner, it seems that FOCUS does something similar.

These are young people, and they are attracted to time-tested basics of the Catholic faith. Deep prayer life, Eucharistic and Marian devotion, and Scripture. They used their love for these things to attract others to the faith, and it sounds like it is working.

FOCUS was founded in 1998 by Curtis Martin. It answers the call of John Paul II to evangelize. Not only do non-believers need this evangelization, but so do Catholics who have lapsed or succumbed to the lukewarmness of which St. John Vianney speaks.

This group was invited to the Archdiocese of Denver by Archbishop Chaput, who is very fond of this organization, and its sucess in bringing Christ to others. It has bloomed well in such a short time and stats can be read at their website.

If you are a college student, you may want to check to see if there is a FOCUS group on your campus. If not, look into starting one. Here is that website once again: