By Eileen Piper, FOCUS Vice President of Life Long Mission
Catholics are called by the great commission from Jesus to go and make disciples of all nations, spreading the good news of Christ throughout our communities, our nation, and around the world. This call to missionary discipleship shapes our lives, and our faith, and calls all believers to look outside of themselves and into the hearts of others.
This mission of service and cultivating relationships with individuals on campus and throughout our communities has been the foundation of FOCUS (the Fellowship of Catholic University Students) for 25 years. As the ministry has grown and evolved, we have come to recognize the need for this same missionary discipleship in the heart of the Church – our parishes.
Individuals, families, and parishes are facing new and daunting challenges since the COVID-19 pandemic, as communities are starved for hope and fellowship in a world plagued by negative news, crisis, financial turmoil, and isolation. Depression, suicide, and addiction are at record highs. And in a world that is more connected than ever through social media, we are facing an isolation epidemic where people feel more alone than ever.
Church leaders are calling for transformation. This cultural change starts with our parishioners, and the “Making Missionary Disciples” track at the yearly SEEK Conference, hosted by FOCUS, invites and empowers individuals to live on mission in their communities.
Chelsea Monholand, parishioner at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, had this to say about her experience in the “Making Missionary Disciples” track:
“Learning how to live on mission was the highlight of the SEEK Conference for me and my fellow parishioners, carrying the teachings on evangelization into my own community and seeing the impact the love of Christ has on my friends and neighbors. FOCUS has helped in my personal formation, and being able to see the impact of living that faith each day on those around me is the single largest impact of the SEEK Conference and ‘Making Missionary Disciples’ track.”
FOCUS Parish works to empower believers to become missionary disciples in dioceses, parishes and churches across the country through training and accompaniment. The “Making Missionary Disciples” track offers those called by God to this kind of formation the chance to learn alongside fellow believers, building the skills necessary to transform their communities through the love of Christ.
To learn more about the SEEK Conference and the Making Missionary Disciples track at SEEK24, visitseek.focus.org/mmd.