Holiness #3: Fellowship of Catholic University Students
Over the past few weeks, we have been considering the subject of “holiness.” Recently we have certainly seen examples of what holiness is not. But what are some contemporary examples of holiness? Of what does modern holiness consist?
FOCUS is “The Fellowship of Catholic University Students.” FOCUS is a group of young people who are passionate about changing the world and helping other young people live a life of purpose. They are on college campuses across the country.
Their founder was Curtis Martin. When speaking to college students he says, “You are made for greatness. You are made for relationship. You are made for adventure. You are made for joy. You are made for more. Curtis had the rare opportunity to meet Pope St. John Paul II and express to him the hope and vision he had for FOCUS. The Pope listened carefully and simply told Curtis, “Be soldiers.”
FOCUS missionaries are young adults whose lives have been transformed through an encounter with Jesus Christ. They sign up to live on a college campus for a few years and re-propose the gospel of Jesus Christ to a young generation in a way that is relevant to everyday life. Since 1998, we have grown from two missionaries on one campus to more than 550 missionaries on 125 campuses.
Something is happening. Is this what “holiness” looks like?
Consider what FOCUS says about themselves on their website:
The Mission: College graduates are launched into every other point in our culture: families, parishes, communities and work places. It is during college where the character of the next generation of leaders are formed. We put all our efforts on the college campus because the university is the most strategic place to transform the world. Each year, teams of FOCUS missionaries are sent to college campuses at the invitation of the local bishop and with the support of the local campus ministry.
Our Method of Evangelization has three components:
WIN: Through authentic friendships that foster an encounter with Jesus Christ, FOCUS draws people into a covenantal relationship with God. FOCUS goes out to meet students wherever they may be on campus — in the dorms, on the fields, in the student union — so that we may invite those students to find the greater meaning of their lives.
BUILD: Once we have encountered others in friendship, we invite them to go deeper. We form students through Bible studies and one-on-one discipleship so that they may possess the hearts, minds and habits of joyful, disciplined followers of Jesus. We teach them to pray with Scripture, to participate in the sacraments and to pursue lives of virtue and excellence so that they can become all that God is calling them to be.
SEND: While FOCUS walks alongside people on discipleship, we likewise invite them to imitate Jesus and to be Spirit-filled evangelists by going on to win, build and send others. Those who have been sent strive to live out lifelong mission wherever the Lord leads them, sharing the good news with their friends, families, communities, workplaces, and parishes across the nation.
This is not your regular 9-5. This is a life-changing mission. This is what holiness looks like “live.” The missionaries say that the best part of what they do is that get to do this together. Holiness is never done by Lone-Rangers. Its always involves connections and community. Guided by the Holy Spirit, they work as one family to bring hope to the world.