March was a seemingly short month for us at St. Mary's. With an early Easter Break only 3 days after Spring Break, we didn't get to see our students for much of the month. But that didn't stop us from having an incredible month alive with conversions and full of joy! Because, this Spring Break, Father Denzil and I took a small group of students on a Mission Trip to General Cepeda, Mexico, along with one of our Focus missionaries. If you have been receiving our e-newsletters, you were probably aware that the trip was coming and that we placed great hope in it. Well, as usual, the Lord gave us all we hoped for - and then exceeded our expectations!
It was an incredible week of service and Evangelization as we joined in the work of full time missionaries with Family Missions Company. Our students joyfully entered into every activity without question or complaint. They traveled hours to share their testimonies, washed dishes, mixed a lot of concrete, played with children, spent time with those in incredible poverty, and loved as if their lives depended on it. Oftentimes, the fruit of a short term Mission Trip is seen in the lives of the Missionaries, rather than in the people they serve. Well, we certainly saw fruit in the lives of our students! Since returning they are kinder, gentler, and more willing to serve their brothers and sisters on campus. And their peers are noticing it, too.
But this trip was different from past missions I have been on - this time we were really able to see the fruit of our prayers and efforts. The joy of our students led to beautiful nights of prayer in the communities (or ranchos) surrounding General Cepeda, and the full time Missionaries in Mexico witnessed a harvest that they attributed to the prayers and sacrifices our students had been making for months. One notable story is that of a woman the Missionaries had been working with for several years. After some of our students visited her home, she began to come to the Mission House more frequently, and finally made her first confession in preparation to receive the rest of her Sacraments of Initiation. It was clear that the example of love shown by our students moved her heart and helped her to make such a huge step forward in the Spiritual Life!
St. Francis Xavier, famous for his missionary activity in Asia (and baptizing at least 30,000 souls!) once wrote in a letter to St. Ignatius of Loyola the following: "Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: there is nobody to make them Christians. Again and again I have thought of going round the universities of Europe, especially Paris, and everywhere crying out like a madman, riveting the attention of those with more learning than charity: 'What a tragedy: how many souls are being shut out of heaven and falling into hell, thanks to you!'" With all his zeal for the nations, I think St. Francis Xavier would not cry out to the students here at St. Mary's Catholic Campus Ministry with such anguish. Rather, I think he would look upon them with love and call them comrades.
Other great things happened in March, of course! Some of our men went on a three day hike/retreat, and they definitely learned a lot about our Lord through their interactions with nature and each other. At the Circle, we welcomed Lori and Alan Harris early in the month to speak about their work with Kerygma Texas and Charismatic Spirituality, and Mother Susan Catherine at the end of the month to speak about the Liturgy. It has been beautiful to watch our students get excited when they learn about different devotions and prayer!
St. Mary's Catholic Campus Ministry, SFA Campus
“Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you – for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart … don’t listen to the demon, laugh at him, and go without fear to receive the Jesus of peace and love.
Receive Communion often, very often … there you have the sole remedy, if you want to be cured. Jesus has not put this attraction in your heart for nothing.”
- St. Therese of Lisieux