Ready, set, go! Whether or not the students were ready to hit the books again for the fall semester, campus ministry programs throughout the United States were excited to welcome back students this August. The Apostles of the Interior Life serving at both the St. Lawrence Center at the University of Kansas and the St. Mary’s Catholic Center of Texas A&M University welcomed exciting changes with the new school year. Both Catholic centers have new pastors: Fr. Mitchel Zimmerman replaced Fr. Steve Beseau in Kansas and Fr. Brian McMaster took over for now Bishop David Konderla in Texas, yet another pastor to become a bishop out of St. Mary’s Catholic Center.
In Kansas, the St. Lawrence Center has many programs to offer, but likewise, so many students are far from the Church, creating a need for weekly evangelization and outreach. The Sisters go on campus to talk with students, not necessarily with a goal in mind, but by transmitting the love of Christ through their person, they hope to create an encounter with something greater that leads to an encounter with Someone greater. Many times, these conversations, merely by discussing who an Apostle of the Interior Life is, lead to questions or personal sharing that would not have found an outlet had the Holy Spirit not guided the Apostle to meet that one particular person in that moment. Sr. Debbie Li and Sr. Elena Morcelli hope that by going out on the University of Kansas campus, that they can bring students to the St. Lawrence Center to learn more about the faith and eventually engage or deepen their relationship with Jesus. Once there, the students can get involved with “Koinonia,“ which means “community” in Greek. Koinonia seeks to create fraternity among the students of St. Lawrence and help them grow closer to Christ. Sr. Elena is spearheading the retreat this semester along with many student leaders.
St. Mary’s Catholic Center of Texas A&M University has a reputation for being one of the strongest campus ministry programs in the U.S. With a large staff serving thousands of students every week, there is never a boring day. Prayer always comes first for any Apostles of the Interior Life no matter how active the ministry. On a normal day, the Sisters pray Liturgy of the Hours in the morning then go to St. Mary’s to pray an hour of adoration with the students who come before going to class. A majority of the day, then, is given to spiritual direction, or one-on-one appointments with students to help them grow deeper in their relationship with Christ in following His will.
There are many other programs that this Sisters hosts. For instance, “Samuel Group,” which kicked off on September 25th, with 80 participants desiring to discern their vocation and listen to God’s voice guiding their life choices. Throughout October and November, the Sisters will also be offering “School of Prayer” to guide students and permanent parishioners through an experience of prayer to learn how to enter into personal meditation on a daily basis. They also host fun events in order to evangelize and invite students to the convent: movie nights, “Night at the Convent,“ “Holy Hour with the Sisters,“ and block parties with the neighbors.
Currently, Kalin Holthaus, who is in her 4th year of formation, is doing a pastoral year in Texas to engage more deeply in apostolate in her formation towards vows. Besides helping out with everything the Sisters are doing at St. Mary’s, she also frequently goes on campus to do evangelization with people she approaches to engage in conversation.
Please pray for all campus ministries that the Apostles serve, that they may love and form the students who are already committed to growing in their faith, but also that there may always be a spirit of evangelization to reach those who are indifferent or distant from a relationship with Christ and His Church.