Monday, June 10, 2013

Staying Catholic at a Non-Catholic University

The National Catholic Register interviewed several of us at St. Mary's for this article:
In his address to youth at World Youth Day in Toronto in 2002, Pope John Paul the Great said, "Dear young people, let yourselves be taken over by the light of Christ, and spread that light wherever you are."

Young Catholics at universities throughout the country extend this light by answering questions concerning the Catholic faith in Protestant and secular environments. Students from Baylor, Duke, Texas A&M and the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) explained to the Register how they keep the faith in college.

At Duke University, just-graduated senior Amy Wigger said that faith was her priority, especially attending Sunday Mass. She tried to attend one daily Mass per week, maintained a daily prayer life and used resources the Duke Catholic Center had to offer.

"Making friends in the Catholic Center has proven an invaluable resource for my faith," said Wigger. "Having friends with whom to discuss my faith allowed me to grow in faith and holiness, in ways that have been both unexpected and beautiful."

Wigger added that peers regularly challenged her faith, but she considered these encounters as growing opportunities.

"Instead of looking at this as a bad thing, I try to welcome such challenges as opportunities to engage with my faith in a constructive manner," said Wigger. "It forces me to take my faith seriously and spend time learning how to defend it."

Marcel LeJeune, assistant director of campus ministry at Texas A&M, said the greatest test of faith he sees is the culture’s attack on young people.

"Our youth are taught relativism and utilitarianism on a broad scale," said LeJeune. "Too many Catholic leaders and parents let the culture have the upper hand. We need a renewal of evangelization and formation of disciples in our families and parishes."

St. Mary’s Catholic Center at Texas A&M in College Station is home to one of the largest campus ministries in the country. Several students from St. Mary’s explained how they remain strong in faith at a public university.

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