I am having difficulty believing that this is my third May as chaplain of St. Mary’s Catholic Campus Ministry! At this point the students have completed exams and have entered into their summer vacation – St. Mary’s is very quiet! At least, on the surface!
Planning for the new academic year beginning in August continues apace and we have decided that the theme of the Leadership Retreat will focus on ‘Welcome’. It is quite amazing to me the effect that being welcomed can have on a person, whether they are a new student, an old student, or an alumnus returning to visit St. Mary’s after a number of years. I think we have all learned a lesson from one of our recent graduates, Andrew Lusk, who is an expert at spotting new people and saying to them: “Hi, my name is Andy; what’s your name?”
We will also be tying “invitation” into the theme of “Welcome” at the Leadership Retreat. Again, we have learned from Andrew that invitations can be like the seed that the sower scatters (Mark 4: 3-20). The sower doesn’t care where the seed lands – every situation gets an opportunity to produce a harvest. Just so with invitations – we hope to give our students the sense that they can share what the ministry has to offer by inviting others to come and see what it is we do.
In the meantime the cycle of outgoing, graduating students and new, incoming students continues. Freshman orientation will be gearing up next month and we look forward to welcoming our new students who will fill the ranks of students who have graduated and are now transitioning from academic life to professional life. It is quite a change and I ask your prayers for all our graduates.
I also need to ask for a favor: if you are aware that a family member or a friend is starting their college career at SFA please recommend us to them – we would love the opportunity to welcome them to SFA and invite them to St. Mary’s Catholic Campus Ministry.
As ever, God bless you, – Beannacht De leat!
Father James Rowland