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Saturday, December 5, 2009

FOCUS on youth

REV. MR. STEVE DEMARTINO, Maryknoll's coordinator of vocation ministries, has been planning for several months to attend the National Conference of F.O.C.U.S. (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) in Orlando, Florida at the end of the month. (It's a Small World After All) This evangelical Catholic group attracts thousands of young people to its conferences with emphasis on zeal for spreading the love of Christ to all the world, beginning where they are. This year's theme: "Made for More."

It seemed to Deacon Steve that this was a natural place for Maryknoll vocations office to have a presence, so he made arrangements to attend and have a Maryknoll booth with posters, literature, mission rosary, our latest vocation video looping on the TV monitors and two live Maryknoll seminarians, Angel Garcia and Mark Zachar, to meet and speak with the students in their language and on their turf.

All systems seemed ready to go when out of the blue a letter came a few days ago from the Conference organizers asking for a signed Declaration of Faith. Images and quotes from Man for All Seasons flashed through Steven's mind. Several of us had a lively discussion over French toast and oatmeal as to what this was and why the good folks at FOCUS thought it necessary.

It turns out the document was rather broadly worded, asking an acceptance of the Nicene Creed (to which most Maryknollers can acquiesce if not accede) and loyalty to the Holy Father and the college of bishops. In short, there was nothing to merit going to the gallows in opposition to. Steve signed. ("This is not the stuff of which martyrs are made.")

We would do well to bone up on this group. It emphasizes mission (albeit in a geographically narrower sense than we do) and taps into Catholic college students' energy and enthusiasm.

Fr. Benedict Groeschel, former professor in the Maryknoll School of Theology and founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, will be one of the keynote speakers at the Conference.

I encourage all Maryknollers interested in what's up with today's Catholic youth to check out the FOCUS websight: http://focusonline.org/

BTW, their website is way cooler, hipper, fresher, simpler, neater and altogether more interesting and attractive than ours. Hint. Hint.

1 comment:

  1. Joe, it is no accident that they asked the questions. I wonder if they asked everyone who is participating the same questions. This group has the Archbishop of Denver as their patron and as is well known he has strong opinions of Maryknoll.

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