So, my Alma Mater’s Fall Break begins tomorrow (Oct. 4, 2018) and I figured I’d do something a bit special for it.
Why do something special for Fall Break?
Well, for those of you who might not be aware, Fall Break (at least for my Alma Mater) is the halfway point of the semester. Even though my Alma Mater’s Fall Break is only two days from the work week, many people take this chance to go home.
Okay, but why are you telling us this again?
They may not have the grades they want. They may not be putting in the right amount of time on homework. They may be struggling balancing things like homework, classes, jobs, sports, Greek Life, and other extra curriculars. They may not be with the people they want to be with. They may be partying too much. They may have gotten in with the wrong crowd. They may want to become involved in more extra curriculars. And the list could go on.
Like I said before, it allows students to figure out how they need to use the rest of the semester. They can use the break to figure out what they need to stop doing, what they need to change, what they need to keep the same, etc., etc.
But what does this have to do with God or Catholicism?
There’s a situation within American society where people my age (early 20s), or a bit younger, are leaving their faith/religion during their college years. And I’m not entirely certain what the stastics are, and it may be a situation for Christianity as a whole instead of just within Catholicism. And I don’t know the non-Catholic/non-Christian statistics either.
This can be for different reasons, including: not being interested in it, having felt forced to attend church when they were younger, having a bad experience with some aspect of the church, not having the time, not feeling like they can, and the list can probably go on for a while.
But I think there’s a solution that has the potential to work:
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I was active at the Newman House (Newman from here on out) at my Alma Mater. And so the information I’m giving today is based on my own experiences with one Newman, so I don’t know what other Newmans do or others’ experiences of Newman.
For those of you who may not be aware of what Newman is, Newman is a place for Catholic students of public/non-Catholic universities or colleges to practice, grow in, and meet others who share their Catholic faith.
In my personal experience at Newman, these centers can provide Masses, Adoration, Reconciliation, Spiritual Direction, fellowship with other Catholic students, and more.
Okay, this all grand and swell, but you said it has the potential to work. Please clarify.
Newman can do quite a bit of advertising for itself, its Masses, other religious activities, and fellowship activities.
The individual student has make the decision to become involved. They shouldn’t feel forced into it by a friend or family member. If they are, they may resent having to go and may not want to go again.
I personally knew going into college that I wanted to be involved in Newman. And over the course of my four years at college, I became more and more involved. I grew in my faith, I formed fantastic God-centered relationships, and I formed a great foundation for my Catholic life after college.
I highly recommend students going to their Newman House/Center if their university/college has one. (If you don’t, I recommend looking into how you can form one, if at all possible.)
You’ll form relationships that will continue after you’ve graduated from university. You’ll form a good foundation for your life after university. You may even learn skills or hold positions that can benefit you during and after university.
So, here are my challenges.
- If you are a student: I recommend checking out if your university/college has a Newman House/Center. If it does, check it out. If not, get involved with the local parish or see if you can form/build a Newman for your campus.
- If you are someone who wants their friend to come to Newman: Invite them (politely and gently) to come to Mass or different events/activities with you. Having you there with them may make it less intimidating for them to go. But don’t be overbearing or forceful about it. You don’t want to drive them away.
- If you are a parent/guardian who wants their child to go to Newman: Be supportive of it and suggest it every now and then. But like I said in the above point: don’t be overbearing or forceful about the subject. You don’t want to drive them away from the idea.
- If you are a graduate: I recommend staying in touch with the people you formed relationships with at Newman. Continue to build each other up and have that God-centered relationship with them. Take what you learned at Newman and apply it to your life now that you’re out of school. Continue to keep up with your Newman House/Center and maybe even the parish you attended while still in school. Encourage people who are attending your Alma Mater (or people who are going into college regardless of school) to check out Newman and tell them how it helped you.
With that, I’ll leave this post as it is. And I hope you have a fantastic rest of your day!