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Campus Ministry Is Growing

College campuses are battlegrounds for the minds and souls of young people, and many are leaving the Church. Statistics show that, nationally, only 10% of Catholic students attend Sunday Mass. 

However, Catholic student ministries are growing at the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa thanks to the efforts of missionaries from Saint Paul’s Outreach (SPO) and the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), who accompany a growing number of students seeking the Catholic faith.

Faith Is Spreading at the University of Tampa

Catholic ministry on the University of Tampa (UT) campus, is led by FOCUS missionaries and has seen tremendous growth in just a few short months since missionaries started evangelization efforts in the fall of 2023. 

“When we came in, there were two students who were involved. There was an average Mass attendance of three to eight. They didn't have Mass every Sunday,” said Collin Likover, a missionary and team director of FOCUS at UT. “They were just in a place of large discouragement.”

After being invited by Bishop Gregory Parkes to help grow Catholic ministry on the campus, Likover and three other missionaries got to work. 

Working alongside their part-time chaplain, Father Andrew Burns, Parochial Vicar at Christ the King Catholic Church in Tampa, the missionaries are seeing the first fruits of their labor. 

Now, an average of 90 students attend Mass, which is held every Sunday evening at the Sykes Chapel on campus.

"Two Sundays ago, we had 105 students at Mass," said Likover. 

In addition to weekly Mass, the ministry provides students the opportunity for Eucharistic Adoration, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and multiple Bible studies each week that are well attended. 

"I've just seen college students latch on to our faith because there's so much darkness around them. And when they just see a little bit of the light that the Lord has to offer, they want that," he said. 

Likover said many of the young adults they minister to are seeking meaning, purpose, authentic relationships, and an encounter with Christ to fill the emptiness they may feel in other areas of their lives.

"Our whole ministry is already built around the Eucharist. Our plan is to invite students with us into that, and our goal is to go from one Mass to multiple Masses on Sunday, Mass every single day, either on campus or off campus — whatever it takes," said Likover.

Despite the great progress in growth, Likover said there is tremendous opportunity to reach even more students. 

"There's 10,000 students on this campus and most of them have never been invited to a Bible study or faith community during their time in college," he said. 

With continued support, the missionaries hope to establish a permanent Catholic center next to the UT campus. 

“Our goal is not just for what happens here to stay here but for us, our ministry, to be a launch point for the rest of the world. For students to go into this diocese, to go into parishes, to go into vocations, to go to other dioceses and to make disciples,” said Likover. 

Learn More about FOCUS

Partnering with chaplains and campus ministers, FOCUS missionaries go out to colleges and universities to meet students where they are: in the dorms, on the field, at the student union and in every corner of campus. Through outreach events and one-on-one conversations, students make meaningful connections with members of Christ’s body — growing in friendships, sharing life and coming together in authentic community. Learn more at

Faith and Community Grow at USF

Across town, the Catholic Student Union (CSU) ministry at the University of South Florida is also experiencing significant growth. 

Seven missionaries from Saint Paul’s Outreach (SPO) joined the Campus Ministry team at USF in the fall of 2023 to minister to students as they navigate through college life and explore Catholicism. This is an increase from four part-time missionaries in 2021.

SPO’s call is to transform lives through deep relationships and relational evangelization. By forming disciples to Christian maturity, SPO builds missional community on campus and beyond.

“Since we've been here, we've seen a 300% increase in small group participation,” said Brother Clinton Reed, BH, who serves as SPO’s Vice President of Mission and Florida Regional Director.

In addition to leading these groups, the missionaries live with students in households that strive for holiness, communion, and mission in their daily lives. 

This community-building approach is meeting young people’s needs on many levels.

"Gen Z is the loneliest generation that's ever existed. They're longing for authentic community, rooted in our Catholic faith,” said Brother Clinton.

The missionaries are seeing their work bear fruit through simple invitations and God’s grace. 

“The power of invitation and accompaniment goes a long way,” said Annie McDaniel, a second-year missionary. “Students are searching for deeper meaning in their life and crave connection that comes from being a part of an outward-facing faith community. Our households are the heart of this. They’re not just a place to live but a place for people to be welcomed into relationship, with each other and with God.”

Long term, Brother Clinton’s hope is for these students to be on mission and to proclaim the Gospel as they graduate and go out into their careers, vocations, and parishes. Seventy-eight percent of USF alumni remain in the Tampa Bay area after graduation. 

“As we consider what SPO prepares our alumni to do, the heart of it would be that SPO forms disciples with an instinct and zeal for missional community in the Catholic Church. We're excited to see the significant, long-term, compounding impact of these alumni on the Diocese of St. Petersburg,” said Brother Clinton.

Learn More about Saint Paul’s Outreach

Saint Paul’s Outreach builds missional community on campus and beyond, forming lifelong disciples. Their primary mission is evangelization to college students and young adults. They are blazing the way for the younger generation to renew the Church. Learn more at