Why SPO?

The Need

College campuses are battlegrounds for the minds and souls of our young people, and many are leaving the Church. Only 10% of Catholic millennials attend Sunday Mass (Sherry Weddell, Forming Intentional Disciples, 2012). Students are hungry for truth and meaning but most are not being reached effectively.

The Response

Saint Paul's Outreach (SPO) reaches these students around the country, bringing them back to Christ and the fullness of the Catholic faith. We build evangelistic communities that provide a unique quality and depth of formation in the Catholic faith and life.

The Result

Our ministry has produced thousands of alumni who are passionate followers of Christ and who continue to shine His light in the world long after they have graduated. They are renewing the Church and evangelizing the culture.

SPO is a nonprofit corporation with 501(c)(3) status, governed by a Board of Directors under the ecclesiastical vigilance of the Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Alumni Impact

  • 150+ Are living permanent vocations to the priesthood or religious life
  • 98% Attend Mass weekly
  • 95% Donate to the Church
  • 91% Spend time in prayer every day
  • 82% Currently volunteer for the Church
  • 82% Consider themselves to be passionate Catholics after participating in SPO, compared to 32% before participating*
  • 27% Now serve the Church full time (priest, religious, SPO, youth ministry, parish work, etc.)
  • 2% Divorce rate

Margin of Error: 3.5%

*Choices: Passionate Catholic, Practicing Catholic, Non-observant Catholic, Christian (not Catholic), Atheist/Agnostic, Other

Mission Statement

To build Catholic communities that awaken faith on campus and form lifelong disciples.

Core Values

  1. Renewed Catholicism
    We advance the renewal of authentic Catholic life on college campuses, rooted in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, faithful to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, and confident in the help of the Holy Spirit.
  2. The New Evangelization
    We follow the example of Saint Paul the Apostle by proclaiming the Gospel so that all might come to faith and maturity in Christ.
  3. Life-Changing Communities
    We create transformative environments to challenge and equip college students to live out the call to holiness in their daily lives.
  4. Servant Leadership
    We identify and form the next generation of lay and religious leaders for our Church, our communities, and our world.
  5. Christian Unity
    We are committed to the unity of the Church, and collaborate with other Catholic and Christian organizations.

History & Locations

SPO began in 1985 at the Catholic Youth Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, founded by Gordy DeMarais, who remains the Executive Director today. As SPO grew, word about its success began to spread to other parts of the country and the demand led to the development of Mission Centers outside of Minnesota.

We currently have Mission Centers in seven states: Minnesota, Ohio, New Jersey, Kansas, Texas, Arizona, and Florida. These Mission Centers have Chapters on various kinds of local campuses: public and private, colleges and universities, religious and non-religious. Our National Headquarters, which oversees and supports the Mission Centers, is located in Minnesota. 

The New Evangelization

Our mission is a response to the Church's call for a "New Evangelization". Evangelization - the spreading of the good news of Jesus Christ - has always been the "deepest identity" of the Church. Indeed, "she exists in order to evangelize", so that all might come to faith and salvation in Christ (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 14).

Our recent popes have recognized that the reality of today's post-Christian culture necessitates that the Church actively embrace her evangelistic identity with renewed urgency. So, they have called for a great re-launching of evangelization in the life of the Church, for a New Evangelization.

What moves me strongly to proclaim the urgency of missionary evangelization is the fact that it is the primary service which the Church can render to every individual and to all humanity in the modern world, a world which has experienced marvelous achievements but which seems to have lost its sense of ultimate realities and of existence itself... I sense that the moment has come to commit all of the Church’s energies to a New Evangelization... No believer in Christ, no institution of the Church can avoid this supreme duty: to proclaim Christ to all peoples.
— Saint John Paul II
The task of evangelizing all people constitutes the essential mission of the Church, a duty and a mission which the widespread and profound changes in present-day society render ever more urgent. At stake is the eternal salvation of persons, the goal and fulfillment of human history and the universe.
— Pope Benedict XVI
Evangelization is the mission of the Church, not just of a few, but my, your, our mission... Let us feel within us the delightful and comforting joy of evangelizing. Because evangelizing, announcing Jesus, brings us joy!
— Pope Francis