An Invitation to Gather: OSU Campus Ministry
By Terry Witherell, National Representative for Strategic Initiatives, Catholic Extension
10/19/2011 (5 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
We arrived at St. John the Evangelist University Parish and Newman Center, at Oklahoma State University, at 8 a.m. OSU has had a relationship with Catholic Extension since 1977; and this coming January, the OSU Campus Ministry will be receiving another grant from Catholic Extension. But we were also eager to meet these dynamic college students to see if we could connect them with leadership roles in the Church after graduation.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Our plan was to meet with Fr. Stuart Crevcoure and some of his campus ministry staff, as well as some of the college students who are active in campus ministry at OSU. I had my doubts as to how many students would show up for an 8 a.m. meeting! Remembering my own college days, anything before 9 a.m. was considered to be the crack of dawn.
Yet when we arrived, there were 15 college students already there! Not only were they awake, but they were smiling and eager to welcome us. Just their presence at that breakfast meeting was a witness to how important their Catholic faith is to them. Yet as we listened to their stories, we were even more moved by their passion for their faith and their desire to share their faith with other students at OSU.
The Newman Center sponsors a vast number of opportunities for faith sharing and fellowship: they have Bible Study, Rosary, Wednesday night Mass, and Praise and Worship to name a few. But what's more incredible is the number of students who come every Sunday night for Mass, followed by dinner. They told us that a couple hundred students show up every week and that number grows during the school year! Many of the students who come aren't even Catholic, but have been invited by friends.
That's what ran through all of the students' stories about how they got involved with Campus Ministry at OSU - someone had invited them. Michael, a freshman from Wichita, said, "When I started here a few weeks ago, Anna, who is also from my home town, invited me to come along to Mass and so I did." Many of the students credited Jenny, a senior, as having called them and asked them to come with her to Mass. To be invited, to be called by name, is so important to all of us, but it's crucial for young adults. They need to feel welcomed, that their being there matters.
It starts with being in relationship with others, making a friend, and then inviting that friend to come share in the faith that you have found. That was the model Jesus gave us, and these students are still following it. Every student there credited another student with getting them involved in Campus Ministry. Many students also mentioned Kelly, a former seminarian who is now ordained, as the reason they are so active in their faith.
A lot of the students told us about growing up in rural parts of Oklahoma, Iowa, and Kansas, where they were a part of the only Catholic family in town. I'm from the Northeast, where there are large numbers of Catholics, so it was foreign to me to imagine what it would be like to grow up in the minority, in a place where you weren't invited to certain events because you were Catholic. But what struck me was that it was that experience of being in the minority that made these young Catholic men and women stronger in their faith, more articulate about what they believe in, more eager to be in community with others who shared their faith. They even volunteered to staff an "Ask a Catholic" table outside the student center at OSU, so that they could invite other students to learn about their faith.
Many people talk about the young people being the future of our church. But in reality, they are the church. Right here, right now. It is up to us to do whatever we can to help support young adults like these students at OSU, so that they can grow in their faith while they are in college; and so that they are able to continue to grow in their faith after graduation, as young adults. Fr. Stuart pointed out to us a large tree that they had painted on their wall, with paper leaves attached to it. Each leaf had the name of a student who had been baptized or confirmed over the past year. Through Catholic Extension, we can help the number of leaves on that tree grow, at OSU and at other colleges across the country.
Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for JUNE 2017
National Leaders. That national leaders may firmly commit themselves to ending the arms trade, which victimizes so many innocent people.
Finding the right College
There's no magic formula for choosing a college, but there are steps you can take to find a good fit. Use this tool to start your journey.
Latest College News
One hundred and seventy-nine years ago, two Jesuit priests sold 272 persons at a slave auction. Their families were torn apart: many of ... continue reading
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Friday visited one of Rome's major institutions of higher education today: the UniversitÃ degli ... continue reading
The UCLA campus has been put on lockdown after reports of a shooter in the university's Boelter Hall were released via social media. ... continue reading
In a move reminiscent of the early 1900s, North Carolina State University segregated a student Christian group from the rest of the student ... continue reading
St. Mary's University in Twickenham, London has been formally approved to name one of their buildings after Benedict XVI. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading