Newman University student Kylie Werth, Campus Ministry/SGA Secretary, has been selected by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) to attend this year’s universal Catholic conference World Youth Day in Poland.
Werth’s journey begun out of curiosity. She had heard of FOCUS before, but had never really had any interaction with them. She said, “Honestly, I was clicking around on their website one day and saw they did a lot of different service trips and thought I would apply!” According to FOCUS Missions’ website at focusmissions.org, they “offer mission trips for any college students and young adults age 18 and older.” Spring break, winter, and summer mission trips in Asia, Europe, Africa, Oceania, and Latin America; along with sports camps and missions specifically involving medicine are offered through FOCUS Missions.
Werth nearly went to the Holy Land for a mission trip through this organization but it did not work out, so her application was transferred to World Youth Day which she is thankful for the opportunity to travel abroad and participate with thousands of Catholic youths in this celebration.
Although FOCUS is not affiliated with World Youth Day, FOCUS will be taking 80 students from the United States to Europe for a number of Catholic youth conferences before ending the trip with World Youth Day.
Werth said about the itinerary, “We will first spend five days in Austria at the International Catholic College Students Conference, then travel to Katowice/Zory, Poland for the ‘Youth Arise’ Festival for two days, before making the last leg of the trip to Krakow, Poland for the week-long World Youth Day.”
Once Werth arrives in Krakow she will participate in numerous activities, conferences, and fellowship with other Catholics aged 16 to 35. It has become the tradition since 1985 for the Pope to choose a different location for the event every three years. In anticipation for the upcoming event, the Pope spoke with youth in Rio de Janeiro according to a statement from focusmissions.org: “Let me tell you what I hope will be the outcome of World Youth Day: I hope there will be noise… I want you to make yourselves heard in your dioceses, I want the noise to go out, I want the Church to go out onto the streets, I want us to resist everything worldly, everything static, everything comfortable, everything to do with clericalism, everything that might make us closed in on ourselves.”
Newman University is not affiliated with FOCUS or World Youth Day although Werth states she hopes that her involvement could spark in other students’ interest in the missions program and major Catholic conferences.