Featured Friar: Justin Woodbury ‘15

Since graduating from Curley, Justin has been attending Towson University studying music performance with a concentration in Tuba Performance. He is on pace to graduate in May with a Bachelor of Music. “By being a part of the Towson University Symphonic Band, I have had the opportunity to perform all over Maryland at a variety of concerts and seminars. I have also auditioned for a variety of orchestras and other professional ensembles, such as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the National Orchestral Institution.” Music has not been the only major influencer of Justin’s college experience; his identity as a devoted Catholic has also played a vital role. “At Towson, I have been a part of the Catholic Campus Ministry since my freshman year. I have been an active member of the Ministry’s executive board, and have led the music ministry for the past three years. Within our Campus Ministry, we have been blessed to have a group of missionaries from the organization called FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) on our campus. Through them, I have been able to grow in my faith through sharing my love for Christ to others on Towson’s campus.” In 2015, Justin traveled with the Ministry to Philadelphia when Pope Francis was visiting the United States, and attended Mass among thousands of people from around the world. Then in his sophomore year, he went on a mission trip to Rome, where he saw the Pope address his papal audience, and Assisi, St. Francis’ home. “While in Rome, we helped serve the Missionaries of Charity by serving women who are single mothers, or are homeless and needed a place to stay and be cared for. In Assisi, it was such a powerful experience seeing where Francis lived, and praying at his tomb left me in awe.”

With FOCUS, Justin also had the privilege to attend two conferences in the past two years: SLS 2018 in Chicago and SEEK 2019 in Indianapolis. At these conferences, Justin was among thousands of college students from around the world gathering together to encounter Christ and become a missionary disciple to all of those back at their home campuses. “These conferences challenged me to have a deeper understanding of what it means to evangelize and share the Gospel of the Lord to all those I encounter. In just two months, I will be attending another mission trip to Haiti. In December, Justin accepted a position as a FOCUS missionary. “Although I won’t start until after my graduation, I am so thankful and blessed for answering God’s call to be a missionary. In Matthew 28: 19-20 it is written that when Jesus departed from the disciples, He said ‘Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.’ This is the mission that FOCUS carries in their missionary work by sharing the hope and joy of the gospel with college students. By inviting students into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through friendship and one-on-one discipleship, they too will be able to share that love and joy to everyone they meet on their campus. With everything that FOCUS has done for me as a college student and a devoted Catholic, it is humbling for me to be able to share my experience and the relationship I have formed with Christ to other college students as a missionary. Wherever I will be sent within the next academic year, I know it will be a place where God’s love is needed the most and to restore that loving relationship to His sons and daughters.”

It was not difficult for Justin to recognize how Curley prepared him for his college experience and beyond. “Curley has prepared me to go into the professional world by teaching me to be organized and how to meet deadlines efficiently.” For current Curley students, Justin had this to say: “Life may seem like a lot now as a high school student, but believe me it will only get more difficult! That is why I strongly believe that Curley not only educates you, but prepares you for whichever career path you take by ensuring you are well-equipped for success. There are going to be assignments or papers that you do not feel like doing or that you think have no significance to you, but getting it done correctly and turning it in on time will train you to be efficient in any work that you do with that same charisma and work ethic. It is the little things that will be noticed by others and you never know where it will lead you next.” Curley has also prepared Justin personally to go and serve those who are in most need. Recently, he has been visiting the streets of Baltimore with colleagues to serve the poor and the homeless. “As part of the Franciscan Youth Ministry and the FLEX team, there were many times when we held food and clothing drives, and met those who had less than us, and it was a blessing and a true privilege to be a part of that. It was also at Curley where I encountered the Lord in adoration for the first time at the monthly holy hours. By being present and in silence with our heavenly Father, I started to grow a deeper devotion to daily prayer. There has been so much that Curley has offered me, and I thank God every day for allowing me to have been at such an amazing and prestigious school.”
    
To someone considering Curley for their high school education, Justin would strongly encourage any student to come with an open heart and an open mind. “When I first came to Curley, I didn’t know what to expect at all. I had never even heard of Curley until late in my 8th grade year and was surprised that it was an all-boys school. The young men I met in my time at Curley are still a part of my life, and a factor to diving deeper in my relationship with Christ. Curley will challenge you to be successful in your studies and will always be a reaching hand out to you when life seems difficult. A dear friend of mine, Patrick Palazzo ’15, is currently fighting against Leukemia. Though it has been a rough road to go down for him, there has been so much joy through it just by being there for him and reminiscing about our time at Curley. You just never know who God will throw at you in your life, and how much you’ll be a part of their life.” Justin also expressed his great gratitude for the faculty and staff at Curley. “The faculty at Curley will be your mentors not just in the classroom but outside of it too. The Campus Minister during my time, Fr. Matthew Foley, OFM Conv., has taught me so much as a student and is now a close friend of mine with whom I share my struggles, but also the joys of my life as a college student. I thank God for the friends and the mentors that have guided me to get to this point in my life, and for the Curley community for sharing the love of Christ in my life. Curley is truly where brotherhood begins, but also where you form your brotherhood with Christ and His disciples. Make your time at Curley worth it and bring others into a deeper friendship together to pursue Christ! The world really needs young men who are devoted to Christ as fathers, as professional workers, and even in the vocation of priesthood or religious life.”

If you’d like to reach out to Justin, you can reach him by email at: jwoodbury777@gmail.com

 

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