This is the text of my parish talk that I’m giving this weekend at my home parish, with a few minor changes:
Remember Deacon Jerry’s homily last week about evangelizing? And the Gospel reading, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers.”
Hi *wave*. My name is Chris Goulet and I am a Catholic missionary.
Now the first thing that people ask when I tell them that is which third world country am I going to? Africa? China? Saudi Arabia? Those are good places to go. But look around in the pews right here.
There is a generation missing here – my generation. They are asking questions: Does the Church even notice me? Is Jesus Christ really relevant to my life? Why do I need to go to church on Sundays anyways?
What commonly happens is that kids are raised in Catholic homes and then leave for college. And it’s there where they walk away from the faith. I bet that every single person here personally knows someone who has fallen away from the faith while in college.
But I have good news for you!
Unlike most of my peers, college is the place where my faith matured. I encountered missionaries and fellow students on fire for Jesus Christ, thanks to FOCUS- the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. When I moved into my dorm at the University of Illinois as a freshman, I had the opportunity to sign up for a Catholic bible study. I jumped at the opportunity, as I’d never experienced a Catholic small group before. It turns out that this was a FOCUS bible study, and these guys, especially the leaders, had a profound impact on me. Faith wasn’t just something that they confined to Sunday mornings, it was a way of life for them. Jesus wasn’t just a historical figure but a savior who they personally knew.
We need to reach out to young adults while they are in college. At the campus that I am going to, only about 3% of Catholics go to Sunday mass. 3%, and that’s just counting the Catholic student body- we need to be reaching out to everyone. That’s how urgent this call is.
There are so many different stories that I could share to demonstrate that FOCUS works, but here are some big picture stats. Despite only being around for 15 years, and we’re already at 83 college campuses across the United States, including local schools like Illinois, Bradley, UIC, Northwestern, Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin-La Crosse, and Loras College. We reach over 10,000 students in weekly bible studies. In addition, there have been about 400 religious vocations fostered. Because of these results, our founder and president, Curtis Martin, was one of the 9 lay people appointed by Pope Emeritus Benedict last fall to participate in the Synod on the New Evangelization.
As a full time missionary, I will be presenting and witnessing to our faith on campus in a way that only someone my age can, constantly investing in the students and meeting them where they are at. We are investing on college campuses so that the future leaders of this country will take their faith with them everywhere they go, sharing the Gospel with all, serving the poor, and building up the communities where they live.
But this mission isn’t just about me and my fellow missionaries,
YOU can join me in making a difference in the lives of young people!
As you could imagine, college students don’t pay us to serve them.
As a full-time FOCUS missionary, all of my funding will come from concerned individuals like you.
Specifically, I need to find about 50 partners who are willing to join my monthly support team, so that I can get on campus.
- I ask you to prayerfully consider partnering with me. Support, in any amount, is very much appreciated and makes a significant impact.
- FOCUS is a nonprofit organization, so your gifts are 100% tax deductible, and there are no maximum or minimum gift amounts.
In your brochure, you will find a response card. By filling out this card, you are not making a financial commitment today. But please fill out the response card now with your contact information if you are interested in hearing more about FOCUS. I would love to sit down with you this week, so I will be in the back of the church after Mass to collect them from you.
While you are filling that out, I would like to thank Father and you all for allowing me to share my work with you. FOCUS gives me so much hope for the future of the Church. I extend a special thank you to those of you who are considering partnering with me to make a difference.
With your help, I can reach out and touch the lives of many young people!
I look forward to meeting you right after Mass. God bless you all.
*** If you would like to join me as a mission partner, I’d be more than happy to speak with you and share more about what I’ll be doing. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. ***