Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
Here we are at mid-summer, and a couple of college related items come to mind. The first is to remind any of our students going off to college for the first time, or returning to college, to contact the local college parish and get involved. It’s absolutely so essential that our college men and women take initiative to keep their own faith intact. Attend Mass; invite friends around you to go with you to Mass. And then participate in the other fellowship and faith formation activities that are available at the campus parish.
One specific college outreach program that is becoming more available throughout the country is FOCUS (Fellowship Of Catholic University Students). FOCUS was highlighted at the Amazing Parish conference we attended last year. FOCUS has effected the lives of hundreds of thousands of youth in the last 20 or so years of its existence. It’s a program that forms college students to be real disciples of Jesus Christ from the heart of the Church. This past year FOCUS was invited in by our Bishop to help with outreach at the University of Toledo. So, encourage any of our college students to look for FOCUS at their college. Even if there is not a FOCUS, please check out the campus parish, or the Newman Center. For many decades now, campus parishes were called “Newman Centers”.
I’m happy to announce that a son of our own parish has decided to give two years of his life to working as a “missionary” of FOCUS. He is Matt Reinhart, son of Rose and Jim Reinhart of Antwerp. Matt will be stationed at Wright State University in Dayton Ohio, collaborating with St. John Bosco Catholic campus Parish. He will work with a team of four other young adults who have a bit more experience than he. With FOCUS present, this campus parish will have a greater capacity actually to reach out to students, i.e., do evangelism.
As if it isn’t generous enough already for a FOCUS missionary to give a couple years of his young adult life – right out of college – to the cause of reaching out with the Faith on college campuses, a FOCUS missionary also has to raise his own salary. Matt met with me several weeks ago to talk about how the parish could support his generous giving of his life for these couple years, and in turn the whole mission of FOCUS, which is reaching so many campuses around the country. We agreed that just as Matt spoke before Masses last summer before his mission trip for FOCUS, he would speak again this next weekend, to introduce himself and the mission of FOCUS. He will also be around after Masses to answer any questions and provide information sheets on FOCUS. The system is set up so that donations go directly to FOCUS, not personally to Matt. Matt will be providing all the necessary information, including his FOCUS identification number that has to be sent in with the offering.
For probably the last decade or so, I have from time to time had parishioners decide to work for FOCUS, and I have tried to be generous with a financial gift, because I myself was the recipient of formation from a fine outreach program during my college years. I know how effective it can be. So I’ll be giving a personal gift of money to Matt’s missionary work with FOCUS. Then we decided to designate the second collection for the weekend towards Matt’s FOCUS work. Perhaps other parishioners would be able to give even above and beyond this collection? Matt will be providing all the necessary information. Even if you can’t give financially to the effort, please remember all of our youth in college, and excellent outreach programs like FOCUS.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,