Keep graduates connected to their faith — wherever they go

Do whatever He tells you

by Rick Cheek

If you are the parent of a high school senior, your son or daughter is no doubt finalizing the decision on which college to attend or lining up job interviews to jump into the workforce.

As parents, we worry about how our grown children will stay connected to their faith. It’s a sobering fact that 80 percent of Catholic college students stop practicing their faith once they go off to college.

There are a couple different options out there whether your son or daughter is going local, out of state or diving directly into the workforce.

Newman Connection is a not-for-profit organization working with our campus ministries nationwide. They use a referral system to connect graduating high school students to their Catholic campus ministry.

And it’s not just for college students. If your newly independent adult is going into the workforce, Newman Connection can connect them to a local Catholic parish.

This allows campus ministers and parishes to contact the incoming students/employees, inviting them into the community before they arrive on campus or in the neighborhood, regardless of what dioceses they come from.

Another program is FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. There are FOCUS missionaries placed throughout the United States at 125 colleges whose sole aim is to go out and meet students on campus where they’re at — whether it be in the dorms, on the field, in the student union or just hanging out on campus.

Although FOCUS is not as far-reaching as Newman, it has an outstanding track record for forming strong Catholic missionary leaders through one-on-one and small-group mentoring. Perhaps an active FOCUS program could be the deciding factor in your student’s college decision.

It is so important for our young adults to have opportunities that will help them keep and enhance their faith. This requires a coordinated effort between parents, youth ministers and parishes to connect them with the right organization.

Providing one of these organizations with your student’s name and college enables them to reach out to your student before he or she gets involved with something that really isn’t Catholic.

If you’d like more information, please contact me by email in the youth office at: Let’s make it our mission to keep our kids connected to their faith.

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