More than 500 FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) missionaries and staff were commissioned to serve the Church during the coming year during a ceremony presided over by Bishop Frank J. Dewane
The commissioning was part of the annual FOCUS New Staff Training which took place at Ave Maria University. Bishop Dewane celebrated Mass for the group on June 10, 2021.
The Gospel reading for the Mass was from the conversion of the Apostle Matthew, which Bishop Dewane said was apt as it is the moment when Jesus summons Matthew and says, rise up and “Follow me!”
“Matthew becomes a new man by rising in response to the Lord,” the Bishop continued. “I pray each one of you has taken the opportunity in deciding to be a missionary by rising up to the expectation God has for you. You have to go out and decide the type of missionary you are going to be and then live that response by going forward as a new creation in the Body of Christ.”
Father John Lager, OFM Cap. and FOCUS National Chaplain, said the missionaries are being sent to preach the Gospel and make disciples for Jesus Christ accompanied by the prayers of the faithful.
As part of the commissioning, Father Lager first called each missionary to stand by naming the Dioceses in which they will serve. Next, Father read out the colleges and universities to which the missionaries are assigned.
“All missionaries and staff will accept the official teachings of the Holy Father on matters of faith and morals and the Pope’s authority as the head of the Catholic Church. As a positive expression of Catholic character, a public Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity is part of our service.”
Following the Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity by the missionaries, Bishop Dewane gave the group a final blessing noting how the Lord sent His Apostles to proclaim the Gospel to all peoples. FOCUS is now sending forth new messengers of salvation and peace, marked with the sign of the cross.
Following the commissioning, Bishop Dewane blessed special crosses which were given to each FOCUS member identifying them as a missionary.
Father Lager concluded by noting that the missionaries are now in the hands of the Lord and urged them to “be zealous, be bold, be Jesus to others.”
Bishop Dewane concluded the Mass by thanking the missionaries for their “generous yes. You are a beautiful sight. You are in my prayers as you go forward remembering to continue to hear that voice of Christ in your life.”
FOCUS is a Catholic apostolate whose mission is to share the hope and joy of the Gospel. FOCUS missionaries encounter people in friendship, inviting them into a personal relationship with Christ and accompanying them as they pursue lives of virtue and excellence. Through Bible studies, outreach events, mission trips and discipleship, missionaries inspire and build up others in the faith, sending them out to live out lifelong Catholic mission wherever they are. Each year some 800 FOCUS missionaries serve on more than 150 campuses across the U.S. and Europe, as well as seven parishes for good measure.