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Rome Reports

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FOCUS missionaries leave their U.S. college campuses to evangelize in Rome


Missionary means “to be sent” and this is exactly what the missionary group, (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) FOCUS, is doing. When they are not ministering on college campuses all over the United States, FOCUS missionaries are leading mission trips around the world.

During spring break, these missionaries brought some students came to Rome, to minister to the people they encountered along the way. They served with the Missionaries of Charity and evangelized throughout the streets.

BRANDON PANGAN
FOCUS missionary, DePauw University

“FOCUS is the fellowship of Catholic University students. The mission of FOCUS is to know Christ Jesus, and then fulfill the Great Commission. So with that being said, like, we really desire... FOCUS has like a very big focus on its members. So we have like a lot of formation: the spiritual formation, apostolic formation, human formation, it's making us like a better person in all aspects of our life. But then also the same time, sending us out on this great commission that Jesus calls us to.”

LEAH NIELSON
FOCUS missionary, Team Director at DePauw University

“As missionaries, you basically just teach what it means to live as a disciple of Jesus, we teach the art of imitation. So basically, I teach people to teach people how to live as a disciple of Jesus. So we live life with them, we travel with them, we eat with them. We work out with the students, we host on different gatherings. I do Bible study, I do one on one discipleship. And it's through all of these things that I teach college students how to live the life of a Catholic outside of college.”

Leah has personally served on more than five mission trips, including ones in Mexico, Haiti, Trinidad and now in Rome. She explains that speaking to strangers in the street or students on campus is easy, and incorporating God in the conversion is a gradual part of the conversation.

Missionary Hilary Draftz has been on staff for 14 years, first being exposed when she was a college student. 

HILARY DRAFTZ
FOCUS missionary, West Area Director

“The college campus is a uniquely-placed place to encounter people that are at a point in their lives where they could go either direction. Sometimes they've been raised with faith, and there are a lot of distractions from that on the college campus. Sometimes they just come very malleable, and they maybe have never known the Lord or had a faith tradition growing up. And so to reach them in college is a great agile time of life.”

That's why all of these missionaries want to share the joy of the Gospel and of following Christ, hoping others will join them. They say FOCUS leads to radical conversions, for anyone from students to the missionaries who are sharing the faith. 

On-campus Bible studies and formation helps foster a prayer community that will then lead each student out into the world with the tools they need to continue in the Catholic faith.