Celts FOCUS on Spiritual Life
The Fellowship of Catholic University Students, or FOCUS, is beginning its sixth year of service at the University of St. Thomas. Aiding in the spiritual growth and development of students, FOCUS has become an integral resource in UST’s mission to educate leaders of faith and character.
FOCUS is a national campus outreach organization that invites college students to share the Catholic faith and spread God’s good news. Founded in 1998, the missionary program is currently working with more than 75 college and university campuses in 30 states.
The six-person team is directed by Lee Vigil who, along with his wife Paula and their six children, is beginning his fourth year at UST. Vigil served at UST during the 2011-2012 school year with Greg Johnson and Ana Lejia and they welcome three first-year missionaries to the team: Veronica Ybarra and Meghan and Zach Krueger.
Team members minister to students at St. Thomas events by creating relationships and living by example. Working with Campus Ministry, FOCUS offers more than 25 small-group Bible studies per week and assist with retreats. The missionaries give students the opportunity to engage and actively participate in their spiritual life.
“Putting Christ at the center made my college career,” said Ybarra. “I think we need to convey that to the students because it is really easy to be too busy for Christ. We should make time because it is worth it.”
Ybarra, a Texas State University graduate, said she credits FOCUS with giving her the opportunity and resources to develop her faith, and the missionaries on her campus inspired her to serve college students.
“At a Catholic university, it is really easy to have the knowledge in your head but not have the faith in your heart,” said Krueger. “Having the knowledge does not make your faith any easier to live out. The mission of the Catholic Church is to have the knowledge and the heart to act on it.”
The Kruegers met while attending South Dakota State University and married in summer 2012. When FOCUS was on their college campus, the missionaries fostered a desire to pursue a life of ministry and service. Both rely on their majors to maximize their efforts on campus. Zach, a music major, utilizes his talents in praise and worship, while Meghan, an event planning major, uses her organizational skills to plan events for the students.
Several UST students have also become missionaries on other campuses. Sheena Byrne ’09 is serving at Arizona State University. Jonathon Sanchez-Hidalgo ’09 is serving at the University of Maryland. Jennifer Wade ’12 is serving at South Dakota State University. Mayra Morales ’12 is serving at Colorado State University.
FOCUS missionaries are funded solely by donations from their mission partners, who can be individuals, families or organizations. These donations go toward their living expenses such as rent, food and health insurance.
FOCUS will attend the conference “Seek 2013: What Moves You” on Jan. 2-6 in Orlando, Fla. with a group of UST students. UST FOCUS invites students to sign up to attend by registering online by Oct. 31. The total cost is $339 with a $100 deposit due upon registration. FOCUS has a goal of bringing 150 students from UST and another 150 students from surrounding colleges.
For more information about FOCUS at UST and the conference, contact Lee Vigil at 720-514-0583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured from left to right:
Top Row: Greg Johnson, Lee Vigil
Middle Row: Zach Krueger, Ana Lejia
Bottom Row: Meghan Krueger, Paula Vigil, Veronica Ybarra