Theresa Francis Just Passed Her Year Mark as a Missionary
Despite working at a Catholic college for three years, Catholic Young Adult Sports (CYAS) missionary Theresa Francis felt she wasn’t doing enough in the way of evangelizing. Last summer Francis moved to Colorado after growing up in Virginia to take a job with CYAS hoping to find a little more meaning behind her job.
Francis graduated from Christendom College in 2014 and worked as an event planner for the college for almost three years. Francis said she loved the environment she worked in, but felt like she could be doing so much more.
“I was doing the events for the sake of themselves,” Francis said. “I really wanted to do an event for the people, do something for someone instead of the event itself. That translated into looking into ministry of some sort.”
Francis found the job on Catholicjobs.com, contacted President and Founder Paul Spotts, interviewed and got the job soon after. Something that stood out to her about being a missionary for CYAS was that it was young adults. Francis usually volunteered for groups either older or younger than her, so doing something for her peers was new to her.
Francis started fundraising in March 2017 for three months then drove out to Colorado in July. Although Francis did reach her fundraising goal, she admits it was a daunting but humbling experience.
“I went through experiences that were really rough and challenging both for my faith and personally, but overall I wouldn’t change it,” Francis said. “It was a proclamation of God’s love and how he supports you and when you trust he’s there for you. I saw that every step of the way. The generosity of people, it was incredible in that sense.”
One of Francis’s biggest roles with the organization was helping start the first parish partnership with St. Thomas More in Centennial. Francis works with Brett Manero, the Coordinator of Evangelization and Adult Faith Formation, twice a week plus Saturday and Sunday managing the leagues.
Since starting in July, she’s started two leagues, does two or three events a month, has started a monthly event with Fr. John Riley, and helps Manero with game nights and book study’s. Francis has started a female bible study and Manero will soon start a men’s study. Francis said she’s seen significant growth in CYAS and that the male and female dynamic is the reason for the partnership’s success.
“It’s really hard to start something when nothing is there,” Francis said. “By partnering with parishes it’s getting the wheels already turning and developing off of that. Because of that it’s helpful for CYAS, but also for the parish in the same way. I think it is key to have both a male and female in those roles to connect with both. I’ve only seen great things happen from it and I love the partnership.”
Besides the new partnership being a success, Francis said her favorite part about CYAS so far has been her bible study. She enjoys the bond between all the girls in her study and likes the diversity and commitment from all the members. Bringing in new people to the group has never been a problem because everybody has been very welcoming.
Francis said despite the growth from the organization, CYAS still has a lot to do to be even more successful. One of their main goals is to hire six missionaries for expansion in the next six months. They are trying to recruit for Chicago, Denver and San Diego. Francis said she believes CYAS can one day be as big as FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), because there’s a need just as big as theirs.
“Already we have four other states that want us to come, but we can’t because we need missionaries,” Francis said. “The need is always there and is something that could definitely grow. I think it can only go up from here so I’m excited to be a part of it.”