My dear friends in Christ,
It has been a little over a month since I began my mission here and my experience as the new chaplain of St. Mary's has been wonderful! I am so grateful to my staff and the friends of SFA for their warm welcome and the way they have helped with the care of the grounds and facilities to make this a welcoming place for our students when they return to the campus this fall. My sincere and heartfelt thanks to all who helped for their many hours of hard work.
In prayer, some thoughts came to me as to how I might proceed in my ministry which I have tried to put into action as much as time has allowed.
During my short time here, I have tried to meet individually with as many as possible of the faculty, staff and friends of SFA to introduce myself, get to know them and ask for ideas for reaching out on campus. A highlight has been my meeting with the University President, Dr. Baker Pattillo, who was very gracious. I also invited Catholic Staff / Faculty members at SFA and Student Leaders to a special Mass and reception to meet them and explained that I will be absent from August 23 until November 23 on a study and prayer program in Rome and during that time Father Justin Braun will here to take care of the spiritual needs of the center.
I have spent some time with each staff member discussing our mission and our vision for St. Mary's Catholic Campus Ministry to create a strategic plan for 5 years and In view of the future building project , I have met with a group of our benefactors for input on meeting this challenge. If I can raise $500,000 by June 2016, I would start the groundbreaking for the project.
Believing in the power of prayer, I have added Eucharistic Adoration and more opportunities for prayer at our Chapel. I want to create a spiritual atmosphere and provide more spiritual activities for our students. When I get back, I plan to have a monthly Holy Hour and am considering doing a healing service regularly, possibly a weekly prayer hour with a focus on healing. Mother Teresa stated that “ Prayer is like the air we breathe...” As we cannot survive without air, so we cannot survive without prayer...
God is constantly planting seeds of hope in our life. He is constantly speaking to our heart and encouraging faith. Often when we are anxious and worried, it is difficult to hear His voice of hope and confidence. But when we stop and quiet ourselves, when we find rest in Him, we can more easily recognize His voice of hope. The Letter to the Hebrews (11:1) says that faith give substance to the things we hope for. Hope is the foundation of our faith. If the cares of the world have left us frustrated and empty, let us make the decision right now to open our heart and allow the Lord to deposit His hope inside of us. It doesn't matter what we are facing today or what has happened in our past- there is hope for the future. Believe it and receive it!
There is still much work to be done and although I will be away, I will be checking my email and can be contacted whenever there is a need. I will be praying for all of you while I am at the Basilica and I know I have the fullest support of my staff and student leaders to continue the work while I am gone.
With lots of prayer, dedication and hard work and placing our trust in the Lord, I have faith that we can meet the challenges of building up the ministry here. Thank you for all the loving support you have already shown to me.