It’s time to FOCUS yourself! No, not focus as in centering your attention, FOCUS as in the Fellowship of Catholic University Students here on campus! Over the past few years, FOCUS has made a growing impact at Loras College, and is looking forward to another wonderful and faith filled year. Hunter Beggs, a third year missionary, explains FOCUS as “It’s essentially an apostolate to minister to college students to set a trajectory for the rest of their lives. We meet students where they are to bring them deeper in to faith with Christ, and to find their calling. We ultimately want to fulfill God’s great command of making disciples of all nations.” While for many, the idea of being approached by a missionary might seem scary, FOCUS is here to change that perception.
FOCUS and its four missionaries are here to serve the students and the community. Hunter says, “On a life aspect, we are offering real friendships, authentic and virtuous ones. This is done by creating an encounter with Christ, and by striving to be with him as a way to facilitate an authentic friendship.” Hunter and the other missionaries offer many different ways to get involved and create this authentic friendships through interactions with God. “In the past couple of years, we have offered ourselves to the students through the joy of our team and the joy of Christ in us. Making invitations to students to prayer and sacraments, not for the sake of numbers but to encounter souls and introduce souls to the father who loves them and wants them to come home” says Hunter. FOCUS also prides themselves in making invitations that are meaningful and with great intentionality.
This year, FOCUS plans to offer bible studies, one on one mentorship, mission trips, student leadership summit, retreats, games, gatherings, discussion, holy power hour, prayer team, and more! Hunter says, “This year having two new teammates, bringing more life and energy to the campus, we can be more diverse in the things that we can offer! We are hoping to do more things like our corn themed party, glow in the dark Frisbee, and our mission’s fiesta. Events that people can come and be together where others really want to encounter them and be in their presence.”
SEEK is another huge event that FOCUS is offering this year in January. Hayden Merkel, another third year missionary, describes it by saying, “SEEK is a high-powered conference where college aged students come from all across the country once a year to encounter and experience Christ, often in a profound way.” It is a powerful way to find answers to questions that individuals haven’t found answers to yet. A life-changing experience that FOCUS offers to students at Loras every other year.
FOCUS has made its presence known rapidly within the past few years. Hunter explains the growth of FOCUS here on campus, “It is really quite interesting now starting in to my third year as a missionary, seeing the first years come in and being able to have conversations with them, and invite them to prayer and to sacraments and events, to hear them say they have a home, and to say Focus has been a big part of that home. They have been able to come to know Christ in such a deep way through Focus, and they encounter a God who is their home. Focus has continued to work with Loras in creating daily habits to create awareness of the ‘why we do what we do,’ and that it is not an obligation.” FOCUS also hopes to keep involved with students’ years from now as well. Hunter says, “My hopes for FOCUS would be that it would not be seen as a club, but rather as introducing students to the fullness of truth in the Catholic Church as a way of living. No matter where we are on earth, we are called to be sons and daughters of Christ, and to share him to the world. Also, that everyone would get the chance to hang out with us, just come hang out with us, we are fun!” The FOCUS missionaries on campus are Hunter Beggs, Hayden Merkel, Veronica Kremer, and John Piccone.