The Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) is “a campus outreach that pursues college students with intentionality and love. We invite them into a growing relationship with Jesus and the Catholic faith, inspiring and equipping them for a lifetime of Christ-centered evangelization, discipleship and friendships in which they lead others to do the same.”
This year the Didde Center has a new FOCUS team. The missionaries are leading bible studies and are available to meet with students one on one. Each year students can also attend a national conference and this year the students will be attending the SEEK conference in San Antonio, Texas. For more information about FOCUS visit their website. To get involved with FOCUS at the Didde Center contact us
Erin Corbett is our team director, and is in her third year as a missionary after serving at Baylor University. Her story: “I worked my way through college as a bartender, and loved the bartending lifestyle and everything that came with it. I know exactly what it means to lose the faith in college. However, the Lord loved me too much to let me walk away from the Church. He drew me back to attending Mass. There, I fell completely and utterly in love with the Eucharist. I wanted nothing more than to go to confession and change my life in order to receive it. I am so grateful for this experience, which allowed me to center my life on serving the Lord. I became a schoolteacher at a Catholic school, because I very much wanted to share the gift of the Eucharist with children. Reflecting upon my own experiences in college, however, I knew that college students are assaulted daily by so many lies, and some of them aren’t as lucky as I was to be drawn back to Church. I knew that I was being called to missionary work.”
Elliott Johnson comes to us after a year at Texas A&M. His story: “Agnostic—that’s what I was as I entered my freshman year at Benedictine, where I played soccer on scholarship. I was invited to a FOCUS Bible study. Each week, I learned about how my bad habits were hurting my soul and leading me down the wrong path. I was reintroduced to Jesus Christ, and for the first time I was invited to have an intimate relationship with Him. Soon after, I attended a youth conference called SEEK. My life was totally transformed that week. I learned so much from the conference and gained an immense love and respect for Christ. One year later on Easter, I came into the Catholic Church to further grow in my relationship with Jesus. FOCUS was a huge part of my conversion and they gave me a zeal for souls to know our Savior Jesus Christ. I want to help college students live well, and then support them as they go out themselves to do the same.
Lizzie Schwebel just graduated from Texas State. Her story: “Growing up Catholic, I always saw going to Sunday Mass as something we had to check off the list. Because of this, I didn’t put getting confirmed high on my priority list. By my sophomore year of college, I wasn’t practicing Catholicism and decided to try out other denominations. It wasn’t long before I realized the Catholic Church was and always would be home. I felt peace I hadn’t felt in years, and I decided to get confirmed. Shortly after, I attended a retreat where I encountered the Lord in an intimate way for the first time. I got involved in a Bible study and began discipleship, which allowed me to grow both spiritually and emotionally. I knew I wanted to share my love for the Lord with college students. I am blessed to be a missionary and cannot wait to take part in what’s happening at ESU!”
When I was ten, I wanted to be an astronaut president. Today my dreams are much bigger–I want to spread the gospel of God! But I’m getting ahead of myself. After the astronaut thing didn’t pan out, I went from being a cradle Catholic to a distracted and disillusioned college student. In the summer of 2013, I was a missionary at a summer camp called Covecrest, but those missionary seeds were quickly choked out by the anxieties and selfishness of the modern world. I knew that Jesus was real, but I was torn between His call to greatness and the daily grip of mediocrity and pride. In the fall of my senior year, I met a team of FOCUS missionaries. Their personal virtue, zeal for the Gospel, and selfless love touched my heart in a radical way, and I remembered what it felt like when I’d first fallen in love with Jesus. God had built me a car and filled it up with fuel, but I’d been sitting in the parking lot–the missionaries finally turned the key. The missionary zeal planted in my heart by Christ finally moved from emotion to action. Now I want nothing more than to set fire to young people’s hearts in the same way.