Say Hello to your FOCUS Missionaries

From left: Hunter Beggs, Hayden Merkel, Ben Berning and Emma Schopp

What gives you life? Is it that moment when you score the winning goal after a whole season of exhausting practices? Or is it perhaps when you play the piano and life seems to stand still for a moment? Regardless of what that particular activity or moment looks like for you, I think we can agree that it seems to be a time of pure joy and contentment. The question is, how can we make it last?

Here is just a snippet of what the FOCUS missionaries at Loras talk about with each other and with students every day. FOCUS stands for “Fellowship of Catholic University Students.” We desire to see every person living fully alive in Christ Jesus, who gives us “abundant life.” We hang out with students by painting, hiking, going to the farmer’s market, and doing so many other fun activities with them. Yet, there is more. Jesus has radically changed how we answer daily questions and big life questions. He invites us into daily prayer and the sacraments so that we can be filled by Him. We are a joyful bunch because of Him, and we want every person to experience that joy as well.

The four of us at Loras this year are Ben Berning, Hayden Merkel, Emma Schopp, and myself, Hunter Beggs. Our lives have all been touched by other people who showed us how having Jesus at the center transforms our life with joy, purpose and love. Ben graduated from Loras in 2014 and is coming back to be our team director this year, after having served three years at University of Minnesota-Duluth. Serving here with the athletes for a second year, Hayden ran cross country at University of Missouri, and spent a semester at University of Dallas, before finishing his degree at Wright State in Ohio. Emma graduated from Benedictine, served two years as a FOCUS missionary at Steubenville in Ohio, and one year at University of California-Irvine, before coming here to Loras. I, Hunter, played volleyball and ran track at Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI, and I’m returning for my second year at Loras.

On a daily basis, we encounter all of the lovely people here at Loras, and invite students into authentic friendships, and the divine intimacy of prayer. Alongside several student missionaries, we have weekly Bible studies, one-on-one mentorships, retreats, large conferences and mission trips. We also run the Eucharistic adoration in St. Joseph chapel every day.

St. Catherine of Siena said, “If you are who you’re meant to be, you will set the world on fire.” Every person is priceless and irreplaceable. As we claim our identity as children of the Father, we can come alive together and live life to the fullest, transforming the lives of every person we meet.

It all starts with one yes to Jesus. Come say hi to us; we would love to get to know you. Upcoming events include a Missions Fiesta on Sept. 22 at 1325 Cummins St., and Luke Spehar’s Band on Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. at the St. Joseph Auditorium in Hoffmann Hall. God bless you all and have a great start to the semester.

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