For the next year, Murray State’s Newman House and Catholic community will be the new home to missionaries. A recent grant has brought the Catholic missionaries to the Newman House to assist in developing community with Catholic Murray State students.
The grant was provided through Catholic Extension, which aids in funding and resources to dioceses and parishes, and allows for Fellowship of Catholic University Students, also known as FOCUS, to come to campus and assist the pre-existing ministry.
Allison Loomis, the director of campus ministry for the Newman House, wrote the grant to bring a few FOCUS missionaries to Murray State.
“They come and they help try to build up community and fellowship,” Loomis said. “We have four missionaries…they lead small-group bible studies, they meet with students and try to create relationships with them.”
The missionaries, who arrived on campus a week before classes began, will spend approximately a year in Murray. After a year, the missionaries will either move to another campus in need of help or stay at Murray, which has yet to be determined.
Zach Krueger, the team director for the missionaries, leads the FOCUS group at Murray State.
“Our whole thing is to be available for students,” Krueger said. “We’re here to sit and listen and then share faith with anyone that desires for that.”
The missionaries hold bible studies all over campus, including residential colleges, the Newman House and fraternity houses, Krueger said. He said they are available to go to many places on campus.
Most recently, the group spent the past year in Houston at the University of St. Thomas, a small Catholic school located in the city.
“It was a huge city and a small school,” Krueger said. “Now we’re back in our normal size that we’re used to.”
FOCUS has worked with 83 universities nationwide, and Murray State is the second university in Kentucky to welcome the group, with the University of Kentucky being the first.
FOCUS added 11 universities to their list for this year, including Murray State and various other universities from states including California, Pennsylvania, Texas and Nebraska.
Sophomores Ivy Anderson and Megan Tromley, choir members for Murray’s student mass, said they believe that the arrival of the missionaries will be good for students.
“They come around and talk to kids and give us opportunities to go to bible studies,” Tromley said.
Tromley and Anderson said that they think the FOCUS missionaries have changed their perception of what a missionary does since their arrival to Murray State.
“I like the fact that they’re here because they’re younger, so I feel like I can connect with them more,” Anderson said. “I think it’s really cool that they came here to Murray.”
Mary Bradley, Contributing writer