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Relationship and Truth - Two Golden Threads of Campus Ministry in the Diocese of Norwich

Posted on December 18, 2023 in: News, School News, Around the Diocese

Relationship and Truth - Two Golden Threads of Campus Ministry in the Diocese of Norwich

A simple friendship can often serve as the spark that ignites a profound relationship with the Lord. It is in the warmth of a genuine connection with others that we sometimes discover the transformative power of faith. Through conversations, shared experiences and the unconditional support of friends, we are able to glimpse the presence of God in their lives, ultimately leading them down a path of deeper spiritual connection and a growing relationship with the Lord.

Recently, I had the privilege of visiting the University of Connecticut for the annual "welcome back" Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel, where Bishop Cote presided. During my visit, I had the opportunity to engage with students involved in the FOCUS (Fellowship Of Catholic University Students) campus ministry. In addition to UConn, FOCUS missionaries are actively serving in the diocese at Central Connecticut State University and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. \

During my visit, I had the privilege of sitting down with two UConn seniors who shared how this campus ministry has profoundly impacted their lives. 

Erin Munch, an exercise science student, shared her journey of growing in faith. She confessed that her relationship with God had not always been strong, despite her Catholic upbringing. It wasn't until her last years of high school that she began to truly embrace her faith. Erin credited a life-changing campus ministry event, initiated by her now-roommate, as her introduction to the Catholic Student Center on campus. This experience allowed her to form authentic relationships with fellow students and ignited her faith journey. It all began with a simple friendship.

Caroline Taylor, a student of speech language and hearing sciences, recalled a time in her college career when she felt torn between two lives. However, through authentic friendships and attending one of FOCUS' conferences, Caroline came to a powerful realization: living a dual life was incompatible with her faith. She resolved to strengthen her connections within the UConn Catholic community, resulting in a more balanced and tranquil life.

These two vibrant young women, along with many others at UConn, have found true friends to walk alongside them as they seek truth, all thanks to the incredible FOCUS ministry. We could all learn a thing or two from them. So, let us go forth and be good friends.

The current FOCUS team at UConn comprises six dedicated missionaries: Ethan, John, Michael, Ashley, Julie and Elizabeth. Together, they are committed to serving students and supporting the parochial staff by fostering friendships, encouraging personal relationships with Christ, and guiding individuals towards lives of virtue and excellence

More than 860 missionaries across the nation are part of FOCUS, all striving to heed Jesus' call to "go forth and make disciples of all nations." (Mt 28:19) FOCUS proudly asserts on its website that it is not merely a program but Christ's model for face-to-face evangelization and building a community of faithful disciples equipped with practical skills to share their faith.

I'll leave you with a profound message from Pope Francis, prominently displayed on a wall in the Catholic Student Center: "We all need each other, none of us is an island, an autonomous and independent 'I,' separated from the other, and we can only build the future by standing together, including everyone."

To find out more about the FOCUS ministry and the wonderful work they do, please go to http://focus.org.

 

 

 

 

FOCUS Ministers take a break from playing volleyball, (L to R- Back Row)- Ethan, John, and Michael. (Front Row)- Ashley, Juliana, and Elizabeth

By Morgan Martens

 


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    Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich
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    Phone: 860-887-9294