by Debra Bienert, Newman Advisory Board President and Lecturer – SDSM&T Department of Mathematics
FOCUS is coming to the Rapid City Newman Center! FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) is present on over 130 campuses across the country. Their commitment to the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (SDSM&T) means FOCUS is active at 5 of the 6 universities here in SD. A FOCUS team of two young men and two young women will be arriving in Rapid City in early August to work with the students at SDSM&T over the coming academic year. We hope to continue our relationship with FOCUS well into the future. They have been trained in church teaching, prayer, Sacred Scripture, and evangelization and discipleship. There are over 650 missionaries just like them working with chaplains and campus ministers across the country.
Young people today are bombarded with video games, the world wide web, electronic toys, texting, and propaganda, all aimed at making them happy. But true happiness eludes them, and depression is far too common. Never have young people been more vulnerable and never has filling their hearts and minds with something meaningful been more important.
College and life’s challenges are stressful and an often-ignored element to help students deal with this stress is their faith. Over 80% of young people will leave their faith by the age of 23 and the fastest growing religious demographic in the United States are people who list their faith as ”unaffiliated”. The faith of our young people is the future of faith in this country.
FOCUS will provide one-on-one authentic friendships with real conversations with the students. FOCUS will be building community with face to face fellowship giving students the opportunity to grow, to serve, and to teach others while they share the message of Jesus Christ. FOCUS wins the hearts of college students, builds them in their faith, and sends them into the world to impact others.
The four missionaries that are coming to Rapid City are spending the month of July raising funds to help support their time here in Rapid City. Having four missionaries on campus requires a significant investment of $60,000. The Diocese and the Cathedral have committed $30,000; the Advisory Board to the Newman Center is helping with support; and we are asking for your help as well to guide our young people in lives of virtue and excellence in the name of Jesus Christ. Please give; the need has never been greater. As St. John Paul II said, “The greatest deception and the deepest source of unhappiness, is the illusion of finding life by excluding God.” Please help our young people find God.