Testimonies of young men and the benefits of our relationship:
This past year I graduated college and took the leap and decided to become a FOCUS missionary (missionaries who evangelize on college campuses). The journey began and I started my new life. Come placement day I find out that I will be serving with another man named Kevin Roerty, little did I know this man would become a sort of brother to me. We got to campus last August and I was excited yet very nervous, as I really didn’t know exactly how to be a missionary. On the other hand my first impression of Kevin was that he was a very serious, zealous, and intellectual man, who takes initiative and wants to be a leader. I recall him saying at one of the outreach events early on, “We need more men”, in a very serious and grave tone. He desired to take initiative and brings souls closer to Christ. In short his leadership helped me immensely in transitioning to the new lifestyle as a missionary, and helped me come into my own as a missionary, and although I am saddened at his leaving I feel prepared to step up and become more of leader this next year.
But the most important thing that Kevin really made me realize is that there is nothing more essential then developing a deep, deep, prayer and sacramental life. If we are not radically pursing sanctity on a personal level how are we to lead others to sanctity? Also, Kevin having just discerned out of a Dominican Brotherhood, he had a lot of knowledge and wisdom to offer. Throughout the year Kevin began to introduce me to a deeper beauty of the Catholic faith than I knew existed, through good conversations, taking me to several beautiful churches and masses, recommending several books such as “The 3 ages of the Interior Life, “Conversations with Christ”, and “An introduction to Aquinas”, but most of all he showed me how to live out my faith in a more authentic way as he sought to live out his faith life in such a way, and in today’s world that is more of rarity than we give people credit for. He showed me the importance of reverence, expanding my knowledge of the faith, and being open to God’s will. And upon my desire to discern God’s will in my life, Kevin pushed me to visit Our Lady Of Guadalupe seminary in Denton Nebraska. So I took his advice for it and he hooked me up with their vocations director. I will never forget the love I felt upon returning from that trip, God had pierced my heart and ever since I have this continued longing to enter the seminary. After that visit I visited 2 other religious orders, and at this point I am excited and convicted to apply for Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary next fall. It is crazy how God works, had God not placed me in Kearney with Kevin I don’t know if I ever would have visited Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, and now it could possibly be my vocation.
As missionaries you take the good with the bad, your seek to share the faith and challenge men to go deeper, but Satan is also real and he prowls about seeking the ruin of souls, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” 1 Peter 5:8. Being a missionary has its trials and tribulations but as the disciples were sent out 2 by 2 so were Kevin and I sent on this mission together and I had the great joy of suffering with him in times of trial and rejoicing with him in times of triumph.
Christian Urugutia (entered the Church Easter 2018):
Coming into college and the Newman Center as a Protestant was challenging on many levels, but even as a Protestant considering the Catholic Faith, Kevin walked along side of me to teach and guide me personally in the Faith. Kevin believed in me and challenged me to be the virtuous man of God I’m called to be, while doing it in a grace-filled manner.
Kevin was more than just a bible study leader to me this year, he was and will always be a brother.
Kevin went beyond his FOCUS job description to disciple me. Whether it was fun and fellowship or prayer and learning the teachings of the Church, it was always evident this year that Kevin’s heart was to serve Christ and serve His people at whatever cost. Any ministry would be truly blessed to have Kevin.
Since day one, Kevin has been a solid friend. But more importantly, he helped me in a competent, direct, and courageous manner to help me live as a saint-in-the-making. Early on, he reached out to me intentionally, spent time with me, and became a good friend of mine quickly. In those early months, it was not difficult to miss his own personal virtue by which he backed up his conversations with me. But most of all, Kevin taught me how to pray. This is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most valuable lesson and gift Kevin has offered to me. He taught my intellect how to pray, and he exhorted my will to actually do it.
Over time, he and I had long, deep, and sometimes difficult conversations when confronting either a reality in the world or in one of our lives. A specific time this was done was in November when he and I talked about my dating relationship. Over the course of the next few hours, he charitably and persuasively walked me through how to think with the mind of the Church in this regard. As a result, he calmed my many fears surrounding it, and in a month and a half, I proposed to my girlfriend. Because I was able to have my fears relieved by the mind of the Church through the vessel of a great friend, I am able to more closely conform my life and the life of my fiancée to the Holy will of God.
Meeting Kevin this past year has been one of the biggest blessings on my adult life. As a freshman in college I actually left the catholic church, and came back a few months before meeting Kevin. In Kevin and I’s friendship he has taught me many things, but the biggest thing I have learned from him is how to be a friend, and gentleman. He has taught me how to love my friends, and family while holding them to catholic principles and beliefs.
Supporting Kevin means supporting a missionary who knows the catholic ideals, beliefs, principles, and teachings inside and out. Some people can give by going, and others can go by giving. By supporting Kevin as a missionary there is a little piece of you that is going with him and aiding him in spreading the church.
Nick Heiny (second from the right):
My name is Nick Heiny and I am currently a senior in the business school at Indiana University Bloomington and am a faithful Catholic. I have gotten to know and maintaining a great relationship with Kevin this past year. From his time in seminary and work as a FOCUS missionary, Kevin is knowledgeable about the faith, especially in the areas of St. Thomas Aquinas and the famous Carmelite doctors and his love for the faith truly is evident through his apostolates on social media as well as outreach on college campuses. I have met some of the students that he has/is mentoring and disciplining out in Nebraska and Kevin’s love & fire for the faith is transferred to and evident in them.
Over the last 6-7 months, I have been privileged to have had many great and fruitful conversations about our Catholic faith together, whether at the SLS conference in Chicago put on by FOCUS, over the telephone, or on the March for Life in Washington D.C. Personally I have greatly benefitted from his assistance in increasing my personal piety and devotion to the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, especially in regards to serving Holy Mass. Further, we have had many great conversations about areas in Holy Mother Church that could use assistance from the laity for the benefit of the entire Church. Even as a college student lacking in substantial funds, I have donated to Kevin and some of his apostolates and fully endorse other’s supporting Kevin as well!
For the greater glory of God
Throughout my time at the University of Nebraska at Kearney I have had the opportunity to get involved with the UNK Catholic Newman Center. I have grown through the countless activities it has provided and I am so thankful for the loving community it provides for college students. This school year UNK had the opportunity to invite five FOCUS Missionaires onto our campus. Through FOCUS I was able to connect with Kevin Roerty, one of the five missionaires at UNK, during my senior year. With the guidance of Kevin and the grace of God, I have been able to grow in a deeper relationship with Christ.
Kevin and I met at the beginning of the school year as he hosted many events at his house near the Newman Center. Right away I knew that Kevin and I had a friendship that was centered in Christ. I continued to go over to his house with other men for Bible studies, game nights, movies, meals, and much more. I knew that his goal was not to evangelize an entire campus in a few weeks, but rather get to know the men that were already on fire with Christ. Kevin built strong relationships with us first, so that we could then help him as disciples of Christ.
After growing through authentic friendship, Kevin asked me to be one of his disciples. Through discipleship, Kevin and I met once a week for an hour to discuss our relationship with Christ in different aspects. Every week we would catch up about how we were living out chastity, sobriety, and excellence in our daily lives. Kevin was there for me to ask him questions about the Catholic church, to share stories about his faith journey, and to give me techniques on how to go deeper with my faith. Kevin helped me transform my prayer life by devising a plan that I could slowly grow use to. He never pushed anything on me that I wasn’t prepared for, but rather walked with me through different struggles and allowed me to take things at my own pace.
I am thankful for the guidance and friendship Kevin has given me throughout my senior year. Because of Kevin’s hard work and servant leadership, I am prepared to go out into the workforce with my eyes centered on Christ. I’m fortunate that FOCUS was able to expand to UNK’s campus, because I would not be the man I am today without the guidance of Kevin Roerty.
He is my American friend! I met Kevin at Saint John XXIII, on a random day after daily mass.
He was joyful and full of life. Quickly he encouraged me to open up about my faith and my personal relationship with the Lord. I was immediately challenged and prayed over by a man who I consider holy. It changed my perspective on Catholicism to have met a man who was so bold, thoughtful, and wise at the same time.
As time went by, we developed a close friendship where we learned about each other’s passions and how we could lift each other up. He never failed to remind me the importance of prayer by setting up an alarm on his phone and sending me reminders to pray. He was a very relatable man since we had struggle with similar things in our life and have received so much mercy from our God who loves us. He showed me the way to pouring out this mercy and this love in my friends and family members and how to become a better missionary disciple.
I felt so encouraged to stand up and fight Satan’s attempts to making me feel frustrated or worthless as I moved forward in my discernment to the priesthood and pursuit of excellence in my engineering degree. Overall, Kevin stood there next to me to pray for me, to give me his heart and to love me regardless of how much I failed to becoming the man he knew God is calling me to be. He did what the Lord would do for me and without his openness to the Holy Spirit and unconditional love and friendship I would not thankful for the gift of encountering Christ daily in my life in the way Kevin does and models for many.
Kevin has been extremely beneficial in many aspects of my life. From day one of him reaching out to me, he has always made me feel comfortable as well as helped fuel my desire to grow closer to Christ. This past year, Kevin has gone from a missionary who happened to reach out to me, to someone I would consider a good friend. He has shown me first hand what it means to be Catholic man and to lead a life of faith.
Kevin has helped me expand what I knew of prayer life and how to expand my prayer to far more than I once thought. He has also helped me feel more comfortable praying in public, as this is something I was once very anxious about doing. Throughout the entire year, Kevin was someone I could always depend on to talk to and gain insight from, whether it be about my faith or just life in general. It has truly been a blessing to get to know him this year and I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to do so.
Colton Schaeffer (entered the Church Easter 2018) (second from the right):
Kevin and I met almost a year ago (May of 2017), and since then I have been privileged to become friends with him. We became friends quick, and our personalities seemed to mesh. Personally, my relationship with him has shown me how to live a pious life. Kevin has taught me the power of silence, and how it can help us grow closer with God. Being able to have Kevin as a friend and talk to him about faith has been very beneficial in reminding me that the Catholic Church is home as well.
Kevin has a true love for Christ and a genuine knowledge of his faith. He leaves any conversation or group feeling positive and uplifted. I’m sure he is a great gift to the people he is working with at Kearney, and surely is serving God’s Kingdom!