On Saturday morning, as many college students around Colorado were still asleep, hundreds were gathered at the Broomfield Omni Interlocken Hotel for Mass, and to hear Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput challenge them to live up to their true calls from God.
The Archbishop spoke to the nearly 700 college students from around Colorado and the west, gathered for the annual FOCUS Student Leadership Conference, and told them that each of them were being called by God to “something spectacular.”
FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students is a national campus ministry organization aimed at sharing the Gospel and teachings of the Church with college students.
Flanked by 14 of his brother priests and deacons, the Archbishop paraphrased a well known quote by St. Irenaeus, telling the students that “our being fully alive is what gives God glory.”
In an age in which, FOCUS pointed out, that the third highest cause of death among college students is suicide, Archbishop Chaput said that “Even in the midst of unsuccessful ordinary life, God can call us to greatness…even in the midst of your studies and activities.”
The Archbishop praised the FOCUS organization, saying that from what he’s seen in the Colorado schools in which they are active, “the whole purpose of FOCUS is to invite peers to come to know the Lord.”
FOCUS is currently present on 6 campuses in Colorado and 27 nationwide, including the U.S. Air Force and Naval Academies, Seton Hall University in New Jersey, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Stressing the idea of grace given in Baptism and Confirmation, Archbishop Chaput told the young people that “each of us is set aside for the ministry of saving God’s people.”
“Christ”, he said, “is the one source of salvation, but he uses his people.”
Recalling the role of his own mother in shaping his faith as a young boy, the Archbishop said that “each of you has an important role to play in the history of salvation…think of those who brought us to Christ.”
He then challenged the students to be mentors to others and, like his mother, to bring them into the Catholic faith.
He told the students in closing that God is “calling all of us who are sinners in our ordinary life to follow Him.” And, he said, referring to the story of Levi the tax collector, who in the day’s readings, made the choice to follow Jesus, “all it takes is for us to get up.”