Varsity Catholic Mission Trip
Courtesy: Seton Hall Athletic Communications
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – Recently, four current Seton Hall student-athletes watched the calendar turn to 2013 from abroad as they traveled with Varsity Catholic, a division of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), on a mission trip to Puerto Rico that spanned from December 27 - January 6.
Scott Kalamar (Bethlehem, Pa.), a senior on the baseball team joined three members of the volleyball team, sophomore Jamie Froning (Huntington Beach, Calif.), junior Alyssa Warren (Joliet, Ill.), and senior Olivia Trudeau (Shell Beach, Calif.) on the trip to the island to participate in the nine-day dual-sport camp for local youth. Through the camp, the student-athlete counselors assisted in coordinating both sport and faith based activities for the attendees. Activities ranged from skill-building exercises and games to religious services and discussions of faith.
“You don’t always find people who want to go and do that - - spend their Christmas break in another country, serving other people,” said Warren. “It was cool to be able to share that experience with others and know that there are people out there that share your passion.”
Upon their return, the quartet of Pirates also had the opportunity to attend the final two days of SEEK 2013, a conference for college students hosted by FOCUS in Orlando, Fla.
FOCUS is a national organization based in Denver founded in 1998. 15 years later, FOCUS is present on 74 campuses in 28 states nationwide. Varsity Catholic is an initiative that was launched by FOCUS in 2007 with the aim of “developing the complete student-athlete.” Varsity Catholic helps enrich the student-athlete experience through stated core values of “Community, Faithfulness and Service,” while providing an outlet to pursue their faith in conjunction with their athletic and academic commitments.
“As a Varsity Catholic missionary, I want to be a resource for students,” said AJ Garcia, the Varsity Catholic Team Director at SHU. “Most students, especially student-athletes, are often unaware of the options they have if they want to learn about their faith. My experience has been that most students don't know many of the basic principles of what they believe even though they were raised with the faith. As missionaries, we want to help them learn and help them to grow as individuals.”
“I went on a mission trip last year with four SHU student-athletes and saw them open up to their faith like they weren't able to on campus,” Garcia continued. “To get away from comfortable surroundings in another country humbles a person, and to see people in another culture live out a faith when they are surrounded by poverty is something that strikes you. It makes you wonder about how big God is and how present He is anywhere in the world.”
As of 2012, Seton Hall is one of eight universities in the country with a full-time Varsity Catholic presence.
Click HERE or on the link in the picture above to view a video interview with Jamie Froning, Olivia Trudeau and Alyssa Warren regarding their experience on the trip.