FOCUS — the Fellowship of Catholic University Students — is a national collegiate outreach program serving 99 campuses across the country. Our hope is to engage all college students with the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith, to inspire and equip them for a lifetime of Christ-entered living and leading.
We know that college can be a difficult place to live out the faith, and our team of four full-time missionaries are here to be resources to help students learn more about the Catholic Church and fall in love with the God who created us.
The FOCUS team at Harvard offers weekly, small group Bible Studies open to students from all backgrounds, as well as one-on-one mentorship for students who are looking to grow deeper in their faith or seek answers to the questions they may have.
Please introduce yourselves, check out our website, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!
The Team: Federica Wade, Ariana Ricarte, Bruno Ferrari, and Matthew Balleza
Federica Wade, Fourth-Year Missionary
“A love that does not prove itself in action is not enough," states St. Therese of Lisieux in her autobiography Story of a Soul. These words echoed throughout Federica’s studies at the University of Vermont as she grew in her faith and pursued a bachelor’s of science in Environmental Studies in the Rubenstein School. St. Therese's words and the witness of others following a joyful, Christ-centered life encouraged her to joyfully share the love and conviction of Jesus Christ and His Church as a FOCUS missionary. Federica loves all things beautiful including hospitality, the great outdoors, and people coming together.
Ariana Ricarte, First-Year Missionary
Ariana grew up in La Mirada, California and graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles as a Sociology major and Civics Engagement minor. Ariana served as the co-director of the outreach committee at the University Catholic Center and was the director of the Creative Minds Project, an arts and healing organization. Ariana worked at UCLA coordinating mental health programs for students on campus and taught after school reading programs for students in underprivileged neighborhoods. Ariana is so grateful that God led her to FOCUS and looks forward to haring more about how Jesus changed her life!
Bruno Ferrari, Second-Year Missionary
Born in Mexico, Bruno traveled abroad at a young age and spent most of his formative years in Europe. While completing his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London, he encountered the transcendental beauty of God. Fascinated by this experience, which revealed the trifling nature of daily anxieties, Bruno went on to discern God’s Will through the silent simplicity of the monastery. Here, the words of St. John Paul II became clear: “Man cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of self.” Bruno is excited to return as a 2nd year missionary at Harvard. He enjoys running, hiking and dancing, but above all, he desires to come to understand alongside the students the meaning of the following words of Christ: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Matthew Balleza, First-Year Missionary
Matt was born in Jerusalem, Israel but spent most of his upbringing in Annapolis, Maryland. He is the oldest of 4 children and a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park. During his time in college, he studied international business, joined the UMD film club, and fell in love with the works of Shakespeare. After graduation he completed a year-long Fellows program in Washington D.C. focused on faith and vocation, and after that remained in the D.C. area for 3 years working at a small wealth management firm. In 2014 he left the financial industry and worked for an editorial design agency in Charlottesville, VA before moving back to his hometown and receiving the call to be a FOCUS missionary. In his free time he enjoys fishing, playing tennis, and writing short stories. And of course, he is so excited and grateful to be serving at Harvard this year!