Campus ministry has been busy the past couple months with providing the students and the University community with several opportunities for spiritual growth.
During late March, students and young adults went on a “Surrender to Beauty” retreat in Zion National Park. They learned about the spirituality of the Desert Fathers, who were early Christians that lived an ascetical lifestyle in order to grow in prayer and holiness. Being in the desert allowed the early Christians to draw away from the distractions of the world and become more self aware of the work of God in their souls. Going to Zion allowed the students be unplugged for the weekend and gave them the capacity to more clearly hear God in the silence of the desert. They experienced God in the beauty of nature, which is a reflection of God who is Beauty itself. The retreatants also listened to a talk given by Julie on encountering God in times of uncertainty and finding beauty in the unknown. Overall, the students had an incredible time hiking, camping, and reflecting on their relationship with God and each other.
In April, St. Catherine’s hosted Fr. Peter John Cameron, OP, the editor of the Magnificat magazine. He did a Lenten mission and preached a retreat called “Jesus Begs for Your Heart.” Fr. Peter spoke about how the rich young man (Matthew 19:16-26) was looking for fulfillment in power, pleasure, and possessions. True fulfillment and happiness can only come from God. Those three things are temporary, which the love of God is eternal and overflowing. He also talked about Peter and Judas, and how Peter asked for God’s mercy while Judas didn’t believe he could be forgiven for his betrayal. This retreat provided powerful reflections on the love of God and was good preparation for Holy Week and Easter.
Along with retreats, we have been focusing on involving the students in campus ministry and empowering them to take an active role at the Newman Center. They have been running undergrad nights, which is a weekly meeting where they learn about some aspect of the faith and grow in fellowship together. Looking towards next year, we will be encouraging the students to use their gifts and talents to bring Christ to their peers. They will focus on things they are passionate about, like sports, hikes, service, Bible studies, or liturgical music, and use these activities to point others towards Christ. The students have such a passion and zeal for their faith, and I am looking forward to seeing our ministry grow next year.