Denver, Colo., May 9, 2017 / 12:08 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In the centenary year of Our Lady of Fatima, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students has decided to consecrate its mission to the Virgin Mary in perpetuity.
“It was the natural thing to do,” Curtis Martin, the organization’s founder and chief executive officer, told CNA. “We at FOCUS have always had a deep devotion to Our Lady.”
“Since its founding, FOCUS has attracted staff, missionaries and students who have a devotion to the Blessed Mother, which has been cultivated during their time with FOCUS. Marian devotion is simply part-and-parcel of being Catholic, so it is part-and-parcel of FOCUS.”
FOCUS, headquartered in Colorado, has grown to nearly 600 missionaries on 125 campuses since 1998.
“God has allowed our efforts to be fruitful, and we are seeking the grace for deeper sanctification of the individual missionary or staff member and the special blessing of their missionary work by petitioning Our Lady for assistance,” Martin said.
The perpetual consecration will take place at a June 13 Mass at the Oratory of Ave Maria University in Florida, where FOCUS will be holding its new staff training.
June 13 marks the centenary of the second Marian apparition at Fatima. In that vision, Fatima seer Sister Lucia said, the Virgin Mary told her, “Jesus wishes to make use of you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.”
The consecration will be live-streamed on the organization’s Facebook page.
FOCUS plans to renew the consecration each year on June 13 and on December 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Martin said he wanted to make sure the organization does not see the consecration as a once-a-year event. Rather, FOCUS is encouraging its staff and missionaries to live the consecration throughout the year.
In 2016 the organization consecrated its efforts to Our Lady of Guadalupe for a year while discerning more deeply what the Virgin Mary and Christ desired.
“Ultimately, we discerned that Our Lady’s call at Fatima was still for our time and for us,” Martin said.
The prayers will consecrate FOCUS “to Jesus through Mary, petitioning especially the graces offered at Fatima and Guadalupe.”
Martin said the wording recognizes that the consecration ultimately is to Christ though his Mother.
“It also emphasizes our need for the totality of her help, while recognizing that FOCUS as an apostolate is especially in need of particular graces,” he added.
Martin sees Our Lady of Fatima as representing a focus on a missionary’s interior life, while Our Lady of Guadalupe represents a focus on the exterior life.
“Both are directed toward the same end: the salvation of souls through the fulfillment of the Great Commission to know Jesus Christ and make disciples of all nations,” he said.
He cited Our Lady of Fatima’s request to pray, especially the rosary and devotions to the Sacred Heart, as well as her encouragement to make sacrifices for souls. He said devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe is an opportunity to pray for spiritual fruitfulness, given her precedent of inspiring the conversion of 10 million people.
Martin said he has a particular devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, saying she “played an instrumental role in breathing new life into my dead faith.”
He said FOCUS reaches out to students “at a pivotal time in their lives” when they face the pressures of contemporary campus life.
“We share the gospel of Christ’s love, the truth of the Catholic faith and our very selves to help reach the world for Christ through our families, vocations and parishes,” he said.