What are you famous for?

Eating peanut butter with just about anything, making great smoothies, intensity on defense during pickup basketball, giving nicknames to my friends.

My Name is Tim Heyrman

I grew up in a suburb of Milwaukee, WI. I have a brother who is one and a half years younger than me and we were always very competitive growing up. I loved playing sports with my brother and hanging out with the neighbors down the street. I played a lot of sports and also worked hard in school. By the time I got into high school, the sports I played narrowed down to volleyball and tennis, both of which I was very passionate about. Now, I take my passion for sports to the pickup basketball court.

When deciding on a career, I looked no further for what to do than to my parents, who are both accountants. After a little deliberation in high school and early college, I decided to settle on an accounting degree at UW-Madison. I graduated in 2016 and got my Masters of Accountancy a year later (2017).

It was during my fourth year that I joined a Bible study, met some friends around the Catholic center, started spending time in prayer very day, and ended up going on a mission trip. Through these things during my fourth year in college, I started to become aware of a desire in my heart to share Jesus Christ with others and to spread the Catholic faith. I decided during my fifth year in college to accept a job as a FOCUS missionary and this is now my fourth year working at UMD as a FOCUS missionary.

I will be wearing a Green Bay Packers mask to represent the soon to be 2021 Super Bowl Champs and I will be looking to talk with people and grow in friendship with them. I am looking to help students take the next steps in their faith and the reason I am here on campus is for the students so please come talk to me! It wasn’t until my senior year in college that I took the leap and first joined a Bible study – that was one step among many that have helped to turn my life around and I would love to help others take similar steps.

How did you become Catholic?

I was born and raised Catholic, but it wasn’t until college when I truly embraced the Catholic faith. I came to learn and believe that this is the one true Church that has God established on earth.

Favorite saint?

My favorite saint is Saint Ignatius of Loyola. He was the founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and helped many people become great missionaries for Christ. I am very inspired by the way that he gave his life to Jesus Christ and the Church and encouraged so many others to do the same.

Favorite saint quote?

St. Francis Xavier Cabrini said, “I will go anywhere and do anything to communicate the love of Jesus to those who do not know Him, or have forgotten Him.” Again, her missionary zeal is so inspiring to me.

Let’s say you become a saint. What would you want to be the patron of?

Wisconsinites enduring persecution in Minnesota. Or I would like to be the patron saint of playing pick-up/backyard sports (basketball, Spikeball, soccer, etc.)

Your favorite part about being Catholic?

We have access to Jesus in the Eucharist and a great tradition of so many ordinary people that have been transformed by God’s grace into saints. They inspire me and have left us a path to follow.

Someday when you get time for hobbies, what will they be?

Playing sports, watching sports on TV, playing board games and card games

Do you listen to podcasts, music, or nothing?

I listen to both podcasts and music. The podcasts I listen to are either Catholic podcasts or sports podcasts. My uncle is a huge sports fan and very knowledgeable – he has a podcast both on the Green Bay Packers and the Marquette Golden Eagles.

Why are you excited about this school year in Duluth?

I am excited for the Fall to be able to spend some more time with people outside, as that seems to be the way that we will be able to hang out safely. I am also excited for the mix-up in routine that will come with all of the pandemic changes. I am looking forward to welcoming new people our Catholic community, and introducing them to Jesus Christ. Every person longs for relationships, but most people are not aware that the deepest longing of their heart is for God. I want to help people to discover that truth.

Something good to come out of the pandemic?

Breaking out of the default routine of life has been a huge blessing of the pandemic – taking a step back, re-evaluating things and trying to make the right adjustments going forward. Also, the awareness of the importance of relationships. My extended family on my Mom’s side has started a group phone call on Sunday evenings – we start out with a rosary and then catch up with everyone on how the week went. The family rosary is something that we never did before the pandemic started so that has been a blessing.

If you were forced to binge-watch any show, what would it be?

Chosen or The Last Dance

Favorite song to jam out to in the car?

March to the Sea by 21 Pilots

Furthest you’ve ever traveled from home?

To Israel this past year on a pilgrimage over Spring Break

If you had an all-inclusive vacation paid by somebody who is not you, where would you go?

I was thinking Greece. And then I just googled, “most beautiful places in the world”, and now Greece is the definite choice. The beaches, the water, the white buildings, the sunsets…!

My Name is Maria Grygleski

I was born in Boston, moved to California a couple years later, then moved to the western suburbs of Chicago when I was about 7, and I’ve lived there ever since. I’m an only child, and my parents’ names are Michael and Mary. Though I don’t have siblings, I’m very close with my cousins, who I’m grateful to consider as siblings.

I went to Northwestern University (go ‘cats!) and also played soccer there. It’s just north of Chicago right on the shore of Lake Michigan. I majored in communication studies with a business certificate.

Fun Facts:

I love the sunshine!! Being outside and basking in the sun is one of my favorite things. Should I buy a UV lamp for the winter here?

Why did you become a FOCUS missionary?

I became a FOCUS missionary because Jesus was calling me to it and because I have a great desire for all to truly know Him. In college, FOCUS missionaries introduced me to the Person of Jesus, and to the beauty and richness that exists within the Catholic faith. During my later years in college, when I started emerging as a spiritual leader for those around me, I was experiencing fruits and graces that came from saying yes to God, particularly in the midst of challenges. The decision to be a FOCUS missionary was a great leap of faith for me, but ultimately, it was an invitation and an opportunity to be drawn more closely to Jesus through trusting Him in the risk. It has been an amazing adventure so far, and I am eternally grateful to be able to serve God and others through this ministry.

Who is your favorite saint?

Saint John Paul II. I’m so drawn to him for a number of reasons. The biggest one is his fatherhood and his intentionality with that. Whenever he was in the presence of another human being, he saw the interaction as a divine encounter. He saw each person as a unique and individual soul, rather than just seeing numbers in a crowd. This is proof of his deep prayerfulness and intimacy with God. He truly, truly knew Him. I’m also captivated by his ability to go from this deep prayer, to being exuberantly joyful and hilarious in a matter of seconds. He and I are close, and I have a cool story about our friendship (: ask me about it sometime!

What is your favorite Bible verse?

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; He restores my soul” – Psalm 23:1-3

“Abide in me, and I in you” – John 15:4

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” – John 14:27

What do you love about being Catholic?

I love that we get to encounter God so intimately and tangibly through the Sacraments He has given to us, particularly, through the Eucharist and Confession. Jesus comes to physically dwell within us in the Eucharist, and we get to audibly hear, through the words of a priest, that our sins are forgiven. He wants to be so close to us, and His goodness is greater than we can imagine.

What is your favorite Catholic book?

  • Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Fr. Jacques Phillipe
  • Soul of the Apostolate by Jean-Baptiste Chautard

What is your favorite Christian song that you just can’t help but sing to?

O God Beyond All Praising

Where is your “Happy Place”?

My grandparents’ house. Or outside enjoying the beauty of nature (mountains, beaches). Or anywhere with good company. Home is where I can rest with people I know and love, and people who know and love me.

What is your “go-to” meal?

I love breakfast. Peanut butter banana toast is usually a staple. Or, eggs, potatoes and roasted veggies.

What are your hobbies?

I love working out and being active. I also love playing soccer, so I’m always up for kicking around or a pick-up game! Music brings me a lot of life and I like to sing and play guitar. Oil painting also captivates me. I took a class in college and loved it, so I want to start doing it more often.

What is the one item in your kitchen that you cannot live without?

Peanut butter, hands down. My teammates can testify.

If you were forced to binge-watch any show, what would it be?

I would very willingly be forced to watch The Office, anytime!

My Name is Lauren Hopke

I grew up in a small town in Minnesota, Saint Augusta. I have a great set of parents, Bonnie and Greg (aka Gronnie) and an older brother, Grant, who is married to Christina. They have an adorable son named Clayton (He is the family favorite). 2020 is the first time the whole family has lived in the same state since 2014! Feels good to be reunited!

I graduated from NDSU (Go Bison) and graduated with Ag Econ and Animal Science in 2018.

I’m here to serve to students of UMD, through Bible study, mentorship, & of course, friendship! I am excited to take on the year — even if it it likely going to be very unusual!!

How did you become Catholic?

I grew up in a Catholic family and I was given the perfect set of tools for a radical Catholic faith (Catholic daycare, grade school, middle and high school – the whole sha-bang) but I lacked the personal relationship with Jesus. I came to college looking for my identity. I spent the first semester searching through many of the typical temptations of a college student. Ultimately, an invitation led me to the Newman Center at North Dakota State University. I came to find my identity rooted in Christ through a night of adoration at a large conference my sophomore year. Since, Jesus has transformed my heart and invites me deeper into relationship with Him daily.

Favorite saint and quote?

Well, as main stream as she is, Saint Mother Teresa has had a lasso around my heart this summer. She is often quoted saying, “find your own Calcutta”. These four words have been the kindling to much of my prayer recently.

Let’s say you become a saint. What would you want to be the patron of?

Talking to strangers.

Your favorite part about being Catholic?

Mercy. 10/10 every single time.

Someday when you get time for hobbies, what will they be?

Hiking and road trips (local and far away ones)! Also, design – both graphic design and just simply doodling!

Do you listen to podcasts, music, or nothing?

A healthy combo of podcasts and music but music probably takes the lead.

Why are you excited about this school year in Duluth?

I know this year is going to be a wild one. I feel like I have been given a free ticket to Valley Fair and get to ride on a nine-month roller coaster… so, I am looking forward to seeing the twists, turns, and flips ahead!

Something good to come out of the pandemic?

Having time for solid work outs!!!! Such. a. gift.

Favorite song to jam out to in the car?

Car Radio by Twenty One Pilots

Furthest you’ve ever traveled from home?

Israel! (I was only there for like 72 hours……. I went in March, the same time Covid decided to take over. major bumdog, but also major blessings.)

What are you famous for?

In high school, I competed in a national barbeque grilling competition and a national cooking competition through 4-H. So, I would say cooking!

What’s your favorite part about being Catholic?

My favorite part about being Catholic is the unity and freedom found in the Eucharist!

My Name is Neal Anderson

I grew up in Albany, MN and went to St. John’s University (Collegeville, MN)! I graduated in May 2020 with my degree in theology. It was a crazy time to graduate!

I’ll be on campus this year to be with student-athletes in their journey of living as sons and daughters of God. I am excited to host Bible studies, mentorships, and just overall sharing life together with all of you! I am stoked to run side by side with others in our adventure with Jesus.

Favorite saint?
My favorite Saint is the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.

Favorite Saint quote?

My favorite quote from our Mother Mary is “The Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his Name.” (Luke 1:49)

Someday when you get time for hobbies, what will they be?

I like to do anything competitive, from spikeball to a game of monopoly.

Why are you excited about this school year in Duluth?

I’m excited to be in a location where Venerable Bishop Frederic Baraga (Pray for us!) Led many souls to Jesus. Look him up!

Favorite song to jam out to in the car?

Anything by Luke Spehar and Brother Isaiah