.- When Curtis Martin, along with his good friend Scott Hahn, founded the FOCUS ministry in 1997 at Kansas’ tiny Benedictine College, they had big plans--to reach university students across the nation with the message of the Gospel.
Today, eight years later, that message is taking root. FOCUS currently has 106, energetic, 20-somethings stationed at 27 college campuses in 15 states, around the country, and a waiting list for more schools who want the program on their campuses.
The group recently announced that they are tripling their popular winter conference schedule, which will now be held at 3 different venues.
Nikki Shasserre, spokesperson for FOCUS said that Denver, CO, Jersey City, NJ and Chicago, IL will each host regional conferences this January.
Last year, the group reached their one-location capacity when over 1,500 students gathered at Denver’s Downtown Marriot for speakers, workshops, Eucharistic adoration and fellowship.
Speaker lineups from past years include actor Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus in Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ, and author and speaker, Matthew Kelly.
This year Shasserre said, the conferences will feature keynote speakers who include, columnist Mary Beth Bonacci in Denver, author, speaker and T.V. host Jeff Cavins in Chicago ,and Matthew Kelly in New Jersey.
The theme for this year’s conference will be “This is Eternal Life”, from John 17:3; and “Man is made for greatness”, a quote from Pope Benedict XVI.
Joshua Gideon, director of the program at the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland commented at the beginning of the school year that he was excited about “working with the future government and military leaders of America in the hope of building them up as strong Catholic leaders.”
Likewise, Martin boasted that “we have challenged young leaders to be generous with God, and they have responded.”