I had the joy of attending the huge FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) event, SLS20:“You Were Made for Mission” in Phoenix, Arizona December 30, 2019 – January 3, 2020. Almost 9000 college students, campus missionaries, priests, religious, and Catholics from all walks of life descended on downtown Phoenix for a week of profound prayer, inspiring talks, deeply reverent Eucharistic adoration, Mass, discernment, and fellowship. Truly, it felt like a microcosm of all that is hopeful and good about the Church.
Toward the end of the week, I had the chance to talk with Fr. Mike Schmitz, the director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Duluth and the chaplain for the Newman Center at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, whose popular programs and videos for Ascension Press inspire Catholics around the world.
He had some great insights into mission, discipleship—and the ultimate end of both of them, union with God.
There’s been a lot of talk in the Church lately about “discipleship” and it is so much of what you do, too, with young people, encouraging them to ‘drop their nets,’ follow Christ, encounter Him as a living person, and say ‘yes’ to His invitation. But the end, of course, isn’t discipleship, its union. And there is a whole life to be lived in between. What can we do, in this life, to grow in union with God above and beyond that initial yes?