As a CCO Missionary, I have a specific call to reach out to university students – young adults aged 18-25 (mainly).
I think this is one of the most precious callings – precious in the sense of just how much of an impact can be made on someone at that age, and how much of an impact THEY can make in turn on the world. Let me explain.
The 5th tenet of CCO is:
5. [Focus on] University Students
The future leaders of this country will come through every class of university students. By being on a university campus, we have the opportunity of DIRECT ACCESS to the future leaders of this country. Guided and led by the Holy Spirit, we have the power to influence the next generation – young people who will go on to become our society’s future doctors, nurses, teachers, lawyers, businessmen, and most important of all, future parents.
Think about how young you are when entering university: for most of us, it’s 18. 18 years old. We are so young – fresh out of the cliques of high school, and so ready to meet new people, begin new experiences, join new clubs, and discover what’s “out there” in the world. University is a time of really branching out of your comfort zone, sitting in lecture halls of 600+ other students, learning ridiculous concepts in chemistry, calculus, literature, theatre, history, gender studies – you name it. Young adults go nuts in university. I know you’ve seen this.
So what’s so special about this age group?
These students are going to (eventually) grow up… and even if we never grow up, we will be adults one day, who will most likely get married and then have children. The significance of marriage and the family is unbelievably undermined in our society today. But the difference in family life among those who genuinely practise their Catholic faith and those who do not is immense – and it leaves an enormous dent in our society. Let these words of our newest Pope, Francis, sink in:
“The family [is] the foundation of coexistence and a remedy against social fragmentation.” 
What was that? The family is the FOUNDATION of our coexistence as a species, and a remedy against social fragmentation. WOW!
But now think of this in the context of our Catholic faith – “How precious is the family as the privileged place for transmitting the faith!” Why do you think our Canadian society needs to be re-evangelized? Why am I doing this work on our university campuses? Because children are growing up not knowing the faith from their parents- not being taught it in their homes, not being taken to church as kids, not even being baptized. Parents are the primary evangelists. The family is THE first classroom for the faith, for everything. But even those of us who are raised as practising Catholics, we still don’t know Jesus personally, from our experiences in Catholic schools or parishes … but that’s another story. Hear again the Pope’s words:
“Not only would I say that the family is important for the evangelization of the new world. The family is important, and it is necessary for the survival of humanity. Without the family, the cultural survival of the human race would be at risk. The family, whether we like it or not, is the foundation.”
Can we all just take a moment to shake our heads in disbelief – imagine if everyone realized this?!!!
“It is very important to reaffirm the family, which remains the essential cell of society and the Church.”
I think that the best way to reaffirm the family, as we ought to do, is through young people. Through young people who, 99% of them, WILL BE future parents. Our future families. And this would also strengthen our CURRENT families, the cells of society, if young people realize the importance of their brothers and sisters and parents. And grandparents! “How important grandparents are for family life, for passing on the human and religious heritage which is so essential for each and every society! How important it is to have intergenerational exchanges and dialogues, especially within the context of the family.”
Young people are to be seen as leading characters in the renewal of the world. Young people “are the face of the Church’s future.” The Pope writes that women, especially, “play a fundamental role in passing on the faith” and “are a daily source of strength in a society that carries this faith forward and renews it.”
As a university student, you have SUCH a great opportunity. I wish I was 21 and in school forever, because YOU CAN REACH OUT TO SO MANY PEOPLE. You have such ACCESS to people’s lives through friendships – your classmates, coworkers, club members, teammates, roommates, rez friends, lab partners, group members, the connections are limitless. With this opportunity, you actually have a tremendous responsibility, to be good stewards of the relationships you have with people. To point them to Christ. You are the aroma of Christ!
I want to help build up students so that when they graduate, they can go out into the world, workplace, parish, family, and continue to spread the faith – to be missionary.
I want to challenge you to more depth – to Catholicism in all of its glory. I want you, too, to be committed to the renewal of the world.
 All Pope Francis quotes on the family found here.