Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Curtis Martin's FOCUS Targets Young Adults in "Critical Decade"

GREELEY, Colorado, NOV. 5, 2003 (Zenit) - Curtis Martin was raised in a Catholic home, but by the time he went away to college, he was struggling with his faith. Strong Christian friends brought him back to Christ, and eventually he re-embraced the Catholic Church.

His faith experience in college inspired him to establish a safety net and evangelization resource for Catholic students during their "critical decade" when they make major decisions and often lose their faith.

Martin started the first FOCUS, or Fellowship of Catholic University Students, at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, in 1998. Now the program has been established at 18 schools nationwide. It boasts close to 2,000 members and is strongly endorsed by prelates such as Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver and Archbishop John Myers of Newark.

Martin shared why it's so important to invite young adults to know Christ and his Church during their college years.

Q: What is the purpose of FOCUS, and what compelled you to start it?

Martin: The purpose of FOCUS is to present the fullness of Christ's teachings to the young leaders of today so that they, in turn, will train, equip and mobilize others to extend the Lordship of Jesus Christ to every aspect of life. FOCUS exists to reclaim the hearts and minds of college students for Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.

Even though I was raised in a Catholic home, I drifted from an active faith in Jesus Christ. It was through the invitation of some men I met in college that I recommitted myself to Jesus as Lord of my life. These men were wonderful committed evangelical Protestants; they taught me many important things about the Christian life.

With the help they gave me I began to see that the Roman Catholic Church possessed the fullness of Christ's teaching and that it was in fact the Church Jesus founded. Once I returned to the Catholic Church, I had a deep desire to see Catholic students who were equipped to thrive on the college campus. FOCUS is the result of that desire.

Q: Why is campus ministry so important in the life of a Catholic?

Martin: The college years are part of what has been called the "critical decade," that time between the ages of 15 and 25 when young people make most of their major life decisions. Unfortunately, the years at the university are a time when a devastating number of students fall away from their faith.

Crisis Magazine reported in 2001 that by the end of their freshman year alone, half of the Catholic students who entered our nation's universities stop practicing their faith. By their senior year, up to nine out of 10 have drifted away from the Church. At the very time when young people are making major life decisions regarding their career and the rest of their lives, they are away from the very person who can give them the most direction: Jesus Christ.

FOCUS offers students a meaningful invitation to know Jesus Christ and to make him the Lord of their lives during this critical time. FOCUS provides valuable faith, team, moral and social experiences for the increasing population of Catholic college-age adults throughout the calendar year.

Beginning as a freshman in college, these experiences provide a source of positive activities and faith stimulus to grow in their Catholic faith, to improve their relationship with Jesus Christ, and to maintain their health and fitness as they grow in teamwork, sportsmanship, fair play, cooperation and leadership.

Increased self-confidence and leadership are but just a few of the many intangible benefits FOCUS offers to young adults of today. The result is lasting happiness, a sense of calling and true meaning in whatever Jesus Christ calls them to do.

Q: What are the key ingredients in FOCUS, and how do they meet the needs of college students?

Martin: FOCUS is a national outreach to college campuses, both to Catholic and non-Catholic schools. Our missionary program and services are targeted at bringing the fullness of life and truth of the Catholic Church to college students. Through small groups on campuses, we provide tools to help students share the good news of Jesus Christ and his Church with their friends.

We deliver our program through large group leadership training, team evangelization, small group Bible studies, and one-on-one discipleship. FOCUS hires recent college graduates, trains them and sends them out in teams of four to evangelize on the college campus.

College students need a sense of belonging; they are seeking community. Small-group Bible studies of six to eight students are little Christian communities in which the members learn together, challenge one another and grow in their ownership of the faith. They meet weekly and are led by a FOCUS staff member or trained student leader.

St. Paul urged his disciple St. Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2, "What you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." That is what discipleship is all about -- not just teaching the faith, but teaching others to teach.

Bible study leaders mentor many of the students in their Bible studies, using the model of heroic generosity Jesus and the early apostles used. In discipleship, students are encouraged to grow in virtue and prayer, and are trained in leadership, to be able to take the faith out to their friends and the rest of the campus.

Our large group events are a place for brand new students to get a non-threatening introduction to the Christian life and a place for student leaders to be challenged. FOCUS missionary staff invites students who show leadership potential to organize large group events on campus, featuring skits, music, testimonies and a short teaching.

Our goal is spiritual multiplication: We want to win students over for love of Jesus Christ, build them up in their knowledge and love of the faith, and send them out to find others, so that they can start the process all over again.

In this way, not only the campus, but also the culture, will be transformed. Jesus Christ is the one who came to change the world, so we know that it is possible through him.

Q: What kind of growth have you seen in FOCUS, and to what do you attribute that growth?

Martin: We started on one college campus in 1998 with 24 students involved and one staff member. We are now on 18 campuses in 11 dioceses with 63 full-time staff serving on campus. Nearly 2,000 students are involved in our program. Each year we receive more requests for campus teams than we can fulfill.

This growth has happened in just six years. I attribute our success to the time being ripe. There is a hunger out there. By God's grace, FOCUS is playing a vital role in the new evangelization for which Pope John Paul II has called.

Q: What differences do you see in college students today compared to when you started FOCUS?

Martin: The greater change is what I see since I was a student myself. Students today have a greater hunger for truth and they are eager to seek and find lasting friendships.

They don't have the agendas that many from a generation ago did. In many ways the relativism and hedonism found on most college campuses actually makes our job easier; students today want more. Our minds were made for truth and our hearts were made for love -- you see much of that on many campuses. The students respond when we present the truth in love.

Each year we have a National Student Leadership Conference with special guests and practical breakout sessions. We could be looking at anywhere from 800 to 1,000 students this year. For many, it's one of the most memorable experiences of their college years. It's extremely heartwarming to see their hunger satisfied and the building of lifelong friendships on display through out the weekend.

Q: Are there any campus ministry strategies that might be adaptable to parish life?

Martin: Each of our three key components can be done anywhere. Small-group Bible study, one-on-one discipleship and large-group meetings can all work to enliven the hearts of the members of every parish community.

Spiritual multiplication needs to happen not only at the campus level, but in the parishes as well. There are thousands of people out there who do not know Jesus Christ. Every Catholic needs to be won over to Jesus Christ, built up in the faith and sent out to bring in more into the fold.

Contact

Catholic Online
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000

Email

info@yourcatholicvoice.org

Keywords

Students, Christ, College, Faith, Fellowship

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 250 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity
DAN SHEA

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Priestly Identity: Crisis and Renewal (Part 1)
Catholic Online

Al Qaeda...afraid of Benedict's message!
Hugh McNichol

Benedict XVI...calling all to hope...
Hugh McNichol

Perfect Women
Cheryl Dickow

Papal Palm Sunday Address - 'Enough With the Bloodshed'
Catholic Online

Spotlight on China
Catholic Online

Papal Homily for Palm Sunday
Catholic Online

Holy Week...Holy Time!
Hugh McNichol

Mary and Motherhood
Cheryl Dickow

The Void
Paul Sposite

Islamic violence wounds the global community!
Hugh McNichol

The Seven New Deadly Sins!
Hugh McNichol

Catholic benefits include Catholic principles!
Hugh McNichol

Remembering Father Alfred Kunz
Matt C. Abbott

David vs Goliath
Theresa Lisiecki

Happy Lent!
Paul Sposite

Diplomacy...Vatican style!
Hugh McNichol

Sub umbra Petri! (Under the Shadow of Saint Peter)
Hugh McNichol

Cuba...a neonascent Church!
Hugh McNichol

Kids in Conflict
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On the Writings of St. Augustine
Catholic Online

The Relevance of Lourdes at 150
Catholic Online

Hillary...what would Saint Norbert say!
Hugh McNichol

Lent...questions, answers and involvement!
Hugh McNichol

Mary, Mother of all Humanity, Hic et Nunc!
Hugh McNichol

Catholics...WAKE UP!
Hugh McNichol

Catholic Brotherhood with the People of the Covenant
Hugh McNichol

Have mercy on us O Lord! - Ash Wednesday
Hugh McNichol

Vote early, vote Catholic!
Hugh McNichol

Christ, our global Alpha and Omega!
Hugh McNichol

Being Catholic means...total affirmation of being Catholic!
Hugh McNichol

Seeing the World through New Eyes
Sarah Reinhard

Emulating the Angelic Doctor!
Hugh McNichol

Priests defend, commend Archbishop Raymond Burke
Matt C. Abbott

Saint Paul...a continued example of radical conversion!
Hugh McNichol

A renaissance of faith, reason and global cooperation....
Hugh McNichol

Cardinal Rigali's Homily at Life Vigil
Catholic Online

Angelus: On Christian Unity
Catholic Online

Silencing the Pope
Catholic Online

Papal Homily on Feast of Christ's Baptism
Catholic Online

Education and Gender
Catholic Online

The ignominy of Roe vs. Wade
Hugh McNichol

Papal Message for World Day of the Sick
Catholic Online

Angelus: On Christian Unity
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Planned Lecture at La Sapienza
Catholic Online

Pope's Letter to Jesuits' 35th General Congregation
Catholic Online

Fr. Cantalamessa - Behold, the Lamb of God!
Catholic Online

That We May Be One, and Never Lose Heart
Catholic Online

Sowing Hope in Sierra Leone
Catholic Online

God-incidences are the gift of kairos moments
Mary Regina Morrell

St. Augustine's Last Days
Catholic Online

Liturgy: When There's a Medical Emergency
Catholic Online

Marriage and Celibacy: Love's Link
Catholic Online

Developing a Global Catholic Awareness
Hugh McNichol

Rooms in My Father's House
Cheryl Dickow

Resolutions for New Year 2008
Chris Anthony

Keep teaching Holy Father!!!
Hugh McNichol

Dangers of anti-Catholic academic extremism....
Hugh McNichol

The liturgy war
Matt C. Abbott

Some Answers to a Few Common Questions about Vocations
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Developing a Global Catholic Awareness
Hugh McNichol

Christmas reflections
Chris Anthony

The Lasting Contribution of The Servant of God Pope John Paul II
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

No more bobble-head Jesus'!
Hugh McNichol

Pope's Address to Baptist World Alliance
Catholic Online

The Virgin Without Sin
Catholic Online

Cardinal Vingt-Trois on His New Mission
Catholic Online

Archbishop Forte on Religion & Freedom: Part 1
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Chromatius of Aquileia, Pope, Benedict
Catholic Online

Pope's Address for Consistory of Cardinals
Catholic Online

Trafficking in Lives
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict - On Hope
Catholic Online

The Hidden Costs of Gambling
Catholic Online

A Vital, Life-Giving Message
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Christianity's Contribution
Catholic Online

Youth and Fashion's Modest Twist
Catholic Online

Papal Homily at the Consistory
Catholic Online

Love, Marriage and Happy Kids
Catholic Online

The Virtue of Obedience: Our Duty, Our Crown
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Vere dignum et justum est!
Hugh McNichol

Pope's Address to Bishops of Kenya
Catholic Online

Democracy in Danger in Venezuela
Catholic Online

The Life-Sapping Human Virus
Catholic Online

'You Alone Are The Lord': A Brief Summary of Catholic Teaching
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Sacred Time...Come Lord Jesus!
Hugh McNichol

How Christ-like are we in our lives?
Chris Anthony

A Retreat for Today's Christian Woman
Cheryl Dickow

Pope Benedict - On Trust in God
Catholic Online

God and Caesar Seen From Down Under
Catholic Online

Praying the Luminous Mysteries for our Clergy
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Culture's Pressure on Our Girls
Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle

Papal Message on the Common Good
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - St. Jerome on the Bible
Catholic Online

What Every Parent Should Know About 'The Golden Compass'
Catholic Online

Cardinal Poupard on 'Populorum Progressio'
Catholic Online

A Richer Liturgical Translation: Interview With Bishop Roche
Catholic Online

U.S. Bishops' Statement on War in Iraq
Catholic Online

The 'Golden Compass' is no treasure for children
Mary Regina Morrell

Bishop Skylstad's Address to U.S. Bishops' Fall Meeting
Catholic Online

Rewarding Failure
Catholic Online

On St. Martin of Tours
Catholic Online

Undermining Parents
Catholic Online

God...our theological E.F.Hutton!
Hugh McNichol

The Secular Vs. Religion?
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Jerome
Catholic Online

The Scourge of Poverty
Catholic Online

Sons and Daughters of God...EQUALLY!
Hugh McNichol

On Zacchaeus the Tax Collector
Catholic Online

Why Dads Matter
Catholic Online

Archbishop Chaput on Citizenship and Evangelization
Catholic Online

God Created Man for Life, Not Death
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for November
Catholic Online

Imposing 'Tolerance'
Catholic Online

Evangelizing a Digital World
Catholic Online

A Turn to the Fathers: Interview With Father Robert Dodaro
Catholic Online

Aborting Viable Lives
Catholic Online

Women Religious on Human Trafficking
Catholic Online

Chicago law firm fights for civil rights, against death culture
Matt C. Abbott

Fr. Cantalamessa - The Pharisee and the Publican
Catholic Online

Media Benefits and Dangers
Catholic Online

On the Call to Martyrdom
Catholic Online

'You Alone Are The Lord': A Brief Summary of Catholic Teaching
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

John Crosby on Von Hildebrand's Understanding of the Person
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Ambrose of Milan
Catholic Online

On Peace, Missions and Justice
Catholic Online

Address of Holy See on Religious Liberty
Catholic Online

Recovering subtle signs of our Catholic Identity!
Hugh McNichol

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on 'Populorum Progressio'
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Eusebius of Vercelli
Catholic Online

Christ's Parable About the Need to Pray Always
Catholic Online

Prostitution: Legal Work or Slavery?
Catholic Online

Escaping Poverty: Interview With Archbishop Silvano Tomasi
Catholic Online

Congratulations to His Eminence John Cardinal Foley!
Hugh McNichol

Giving Ourselves Completely to Mary
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

The 'Courage' to go 'Beyond Gay'
Matt C. Abbott

When Bioethics Turned Secular
Catholic Online

Confession Comeback
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On Hilary of Poitiers
Catholic Online

Reemergence of Global Catholic Identity!
Hugh McNichol

Father Cantalamessa on the Leap of Faith
Catholic Online

Month of the Rosary
Catholic Online

Why Technology Needs Ethics
Catholic Online

Cardinal Lozano Barragán on Future of Health Care
Catholic Online

How Can Catholics Understand Mary as Co-Redemprix, Mediatrix of All Graces and Advocate?
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

New Saint Book is Visually Stunning and Filled with Detail
Lisa M. Hendey

Papal Homily in Velletri
Catholic Online

Father Cantalamessa Analyzes Relationship
Catholic Online

Wednesday'a Audience - On St. Cyril of Alexandria
Catholic Online

Holy See Address to U.N. General Assembly
Catholic Online

Homily From Red Mass in Washington
Catholic Online

Pope Remembers Cardinal Van Thuân
Catholic Online

Faith in Politics
Catholic Online

The brave monks of Myanmar
Chris Anthony

On Lazarus and World Hunger
Catholic Online

Fighting the Good Fight: Resisting Temptation
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Media frenzy buries U.N. goals

Holy See Statement on Climate Change
Catholic Online

China's Seven Sorrows
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On Chrysostom's Social Doctrine
Catholic Online

Vatican Message to Muslims for Ramadan
Catholic Online

Father Cantalamessa on the First World and Lazarus
Catholic Online

Angels, God's Messengers in a world of fragile peace and Broken promises!
Hugh McNichol

Memo to Mrs. Clinton: Why Not Baby Bonds When Life Begins?
Deacon Keith Fournier

Reorienting the Mass
Catholic Online

Report Card on Religious Freedom
Catholic Online

On Wealth and Poverty
Catholic Online

A Response to Hitchens' 'God Is Not Great'
Catholic Online

Vetoing children's health care?

The ideal family
Joseph Sinasac

Who does the judging?
Dennis Heaney

One mistake away

The Big House ban

In praise of the parish

Text of the USCCB statement for Respect Life Sunday 2007

The Outstanding Purity of Our Blessed Mother
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Educated flock

Religion and politics

Facing a door to the future
Dennis Heaney

A long debate

Who Are the True Progressives?
Deacon Keith Fournier

Petraeus offers a dose of reality

Insurgence
Robert Storr

Papal Address at Vespers
Catholic Online

Papal Coat of Arms Still Relevant
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Address at Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Catholic Online

On Loving Jesus as Mary Did
Catholic Online

Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos on 'Summorum Pontificum'
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On the Trip to Austria
Catholic Online

Father Cantalamessa on the Joy of Fatherhood
Catholic Online

Commentary on Artificial Hydration and Nutrition
Catholic Online

Vatican on Nutrition to Patients in Vegetative State
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Q-and-A Session With Youth in Loreto
Catholic Online

Take a Risk, Follow Your Call: the challenge of a lifetime!
Sisters of Bon Secours

Papal lessons

Family matters

Lessons from a tragedy
Dennis Heaney

Shopping blues
Joseph Sinasac

Marriage Breakdown: Expensive and Divisive
Catholic Online

Her darkness was a warning

Wednesday'a Audience - Gregory of Nyssa on Perfection
Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 1:1-9
1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
2 Day after day I shall bless you, I shall praise your name for ever and ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 24:42-51
42 'So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 25th, 2016 Image

St. Louis King of France
August 25: St. Louis, King of France, patron of Tertiaries, ... Read More