Parishes

Astoria Parishioner Is Focused on Slovakia

FOCUS volunteers led by Ben Malec of St. Joseph’s parish, Astoria, helped rebuild a homeless shelter in Slovakia.
FOCUS volunteers led by Ben Malec of St. Joseph’s parish, Astoria, helped rebuild a homeless shelter in Slovakia.


Ben Malec of St Joseph’s parish, Astoria, a Columbia University-trained engineer, recently led 23 American collegians and grads from all over the U.S. to repair a homeless shelter and a national park in Slovakia.

Malec has served for two years since graduation as a lay missionary leader for a new evangelization apostolate known as FOCUS: the Fellowship of Catholic University Students.

FOCUS sends teams of young, trained missionaries to college campuses in order to reach students with the Gospel. In partnership with the university parish and/or Newman Center, FOCUS missionaries host large group outreach events, weekly Bible studies and offer one-on-one mentoring with student leaders.

FOCUS has grown since its founding in 1998 by Curtis Martin and his wife Michaelean to over 400 missionaries serving 99 campuses in 35 states across the nation. FOCUS helps to build a joyful, Christ-centered community and support network on each campus where they have a presence.

Students are encouraged to join the missionaries at daily Mass and in prayer – the most vital commitment the missionaries make each day. The annual summer mission trip has become a part of the FOCUS tradition.

Msgr. Sean Ogle, above, right, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish, Astoria, accompanied the group for a week as its chaplain.
Msgr. Sean Ogle, above, right, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish, Astoria, accompanied the group for a week as its chaplain.

 

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