January 6, 2013. (Romereports.com)
In a push for the New Evangelization
, a U.S.-based group is looking to increase the clout of the Catholic faith in universities across the globe. FOCUS, or Fellowship of Catholic University Students, was founded in 1998.
Its leaders saw a pressing need, based on the declining status of the Church in higher education.JEFF RUNYAN
Director of FOCUS Missions“About 80 percent of practicing Catholics that go into the university practicing their faith, stop practicing by the time they graduate.”
The factors are many, organizers say. In a college environment, they argue, students are for the first time on their own. And despite their moral upbringing, this new found independence can lead them to choices that steer them away from the Catholic faith
That's where FOCUS comes in. The group is set up across 74 colleges and universities in the United States
. And their popularity is rapidly surging worldwide.
Director of FOCUS Missions
“We take recent graduates on missions for two years at college campuses.”
Their work on campus includes reaching out to practicing Catholics entering college, as well as other students with an interest in that faith. They host events such as retreats, workshops, and engage students in bible study groups
and one-on-one mentoring.
As a results, they've seen a large number of college students return to their faith, convert to it, and increasingly commit themselves to religious vocations. JEFF RUNYAN
Director of FOCUS Missions“I think there's a hunger for truth out there, we've seen generations that have seen truth rejected across the board and the result of that there hungers and there depression and there's just a longing that's in every human heart.”
Their message is gaining traction abroad as well. The group provides Catholic students the chance to part in missions around the globe
in a large number of countries.
These missions fall in line with the Church's call to make disciples of all nations, and gives college students an active role in the new evangelization.