Hello, my name is Fr. Justin Braun, and I am very pleased to be working as the interim chaplain for the community at St. Mary's Catholic Campus Ministry. The work of college campus ministry is nothing new to me, but it certainly is a dynamic landscape of ministry that requires attentiveness and specific focus in prayer so that our ministry may have its greatest impact. I was reminded of this in the past few weeks: part of my responsibilities are also as the Vocations Director for the Diocese of Tyler, and therefore I have to travel to visit and more-or-less be a dad to 12 grown men (seminarians) who are seeking to fulfill the will of God in their lives through discernment and prayer. It is imperative therefore that I frequently keep up with them, pray for them, and guide them as best I am able with the grace of God-and this is exactly what Bishop Strickland has asked me to do while serving here at SFA. And so I find myself frequently doing the thing God has designed all of us to do: to love Him, in prayer, in the offering of and participation in the sacramental life of the Church, and in seeking His wisdom in study of Scripture and Tradition. And as I reflect on these first 5 weeks, I see God's mysterious ways working, as He calls me to cast the nets into the deep and fight for the souls of our wonderful students-this is the work of the priest (fighting for souls), no matter where he is and who he serves, and I am thankful the Lord has given me this time to be here serving and praying with this community.
So I want to say thank you: to the students, who have inspired me and encouraged me to be a holier priest; to the parents/community members/benefactors, for your faithful support of this campus ministry, and for your active encouragement of our young people; and finally, to Our Lady, whose presence is clearly felt in her maternal protection over this ministry. What a joy it is to be with you, and please pray for my poor soul, and know of my prayers for you!