Into the Fields
What does campus
We asked students across
Canada to tell us about their
experiences of campus ministry.
See what they had to say
Only in community
Marina Ribiero de Almeida
Concordia University, Montreal, QC
As an exchange student at Concordia this past year, I
experienced being far from home for the first time. Coming to
Canada, I was hoping this would be a time during which I could
experience close intimacy with God. What I learned, though, is
that I cannot go much further by myself in my spiritual life.
I have learned to appreciate the importance of others in my
journey of faith. Spiritual life is very personal, but this journey
depends significantly on how we experience our faith in
common, in community, sharing what we have learned and are
learning with and from others.
It is very difficult for university students to accept their
identity in faith. We tend to think faith and reason do not go
together; we deny our faith or consider it something apart from
our academic life. But God is the only one who can give mean-
...Community (continued page 18)
Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface
Hear back from
to the 8th International
come home from
Jesus said to his disciples,
“The harvest is plentiful, but
the labourers are few;
therefore ask the Lord of the
harvest to send out labourers
into his harvest.”
From the Editor
National Coordinator CCCM
National Chaplain CCSA
Tell me about your witness?
I had the pleasure of attending two separate 150 th Anniversary celebrations
of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception – Saint John (SCIC). What an
insight it was to hear and experience the broad base of evangelisation that these
women have provided! Three sisters began, in humble beginnings, responding to
the need of looking after Irish immigrant children left orphaned by the cholera
epidemic. From there, they branched out into health care, education and so many
other ministries, including campus ministry.
What stayed with me through these two celebrations was the importance
of telling their story so others could be inspired to live the gospel in this way. I
heard in conversation with many of the sisters that they were not aware of the
depth of the witness that other members had in the broader community. Yes, they
knew that ‘so and so’ did ‘such and such’ a ministry, but the depth to which they
were a witness of Christ’s love–they had no idea!
In this issue we will hear from a number of students who have been
touched deeply by campus ministry. Their stories are just a fraction of the stories
that are out there. It has been my experience as National Coordinator these past
six plus years that campus ministers are a fairly humble group. We often don’t tell
our stories of how we have ministered to others. Like the SCIC I mentioned, we
often are not as aware of each other’s tremendous impact of witnessing the gospel
on campus, bringing others to the deeper relationship with Christ through the
Church. I believe that we need to rethink this humbleness. Nelson Mandella said
in his 1994 Inaugural Speech:
We ask ourselves: who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small
does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that
people won’t feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the
glory of God that is within us.
I have had the privilege of spending time with many of our members in their
campus and in their homes. I can say, without any hesitation, that your witness of
the Gospel is profound! Your giving of yourself when you so often have very little
left to give reminds me of Mark’s gospel (Mk 6:30-33), when the disciples return
after spreading the good news. They have no time to even stop and eat. Jesus calls
them to come and pray in a lonely place, a quiet place. I continue to be amazed at
the depth of your giving and, like the Sisters of Charity, I encourage you to let
others know your story, so that we may all model that call to witness Christ’s love
amongst our campuses across Canada!
The new CCCM Board
MARILYN ELPHICK joined the Campus Ministry Team at the University of St.
Michael’s College after graduating with an M.Div in 2002 and after a long career
as a Registered Nurse. She attended her first New Campus Ministers Institute
before she had even begun to work at St. Mike’s. In 2004, she was appointed as
Director of Chaplaincy Services at the College.
“I feel that I have learned so much from my campus ministry colleagues
across the country. It has been a great comfort for me to know that all I have to
do is ask and they will be generous with their advice and support. I feel called to
serve our campus ministry community as a member of the Executive Board, to
offer my perspective, share my experiences but also to respond to some of the
changes we face as an organization. I am committed to represent the views and
concerns of campus ministers but, more importantly, be available to support them
during times of difficulty. In some small way, I can give back something to a
community that has already given me so much.”
LAURIE FRIESEN has been the Ukrainian Catholic Youth and Campus Minister for
the Eparchy of Saskatoon for the past 3 years. The campus ministry serves the
University of Saskatchewan campus and is based out of Sheptytsky Institute. Until
this year, the U of S campus has had the only Ukrainian Catholic campus ministry
in North America, and as far as we know, in the world! Laurie has lived in
Saskatoon her whole life, is married and has 4 children.
“Next to my family, working with young adults is my passion. I am very
honoured to serve as Member at Large for the Board of CCCM. Being the only
Ukrainian Catholic board member, I believe that I offer a unique perspective on
who and what is Catholic campus ministry. I know that when I first started as a
campus minister, CCCM was a life-giving support and resource to which I attribute
much of the growth and success of my particular ministry. I pray that,
through the working of the Holy Spirit, I may contribute to this organization in a
way that will inspire and support others in their ministries as well.”
FR. JIM LINK, C.R., was ordained as a priest for the Congregation of the
Resurrection on October 9, 1976. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, he has lived,
studied and worked in Canada since 1967, when he entered the Resurrectionist
novitiate in Dundas, ON. Fr. Jim has served twice on the national board of CCCM.
“I have enjoyed the years I have served as a Board Member of CCCM.
There is a sense of the importance of trying to protect, nurture, and foster the gift
of Catholic chaplaincy across Canada. The challenges and tasks are enormous and
daunting but, as I have met and worked with Canadian Catholic University
chaplains, I have become deeply aware of the richness and blessing, dedication
and faith, we all bring to our various and diverse ministries.”
FR. JOHN KEOUGHAN was born in Chatham, NB, and is proud to be from the
Miramichi. There, he has been a teacher and counsellor for St. Thomas and James
M. Hill high schools (1964-81). In 1985, he was ordained at St. Michael’s Basilica,
in Chatham, for the Diocese of Saint John. He currently serves as a campus
minister at St. Thomas University and has been a member of CCCM since 2000.
“I have always been active in professional organizations throughout my
Fr. Jim Link, Archbishop Raymond
Roussin SM, Laurie Friesen,
Michael MacLean, Marilyn Elphick,
Sr. Teresa Mahoney and Hélène
Allain at the 2004 CCCM
Conference/Transitions in Faith
Symposium, University of Notre
Dame in Indiana.
Mark your calendar!
June 5 - 9, 2005
at the University of
St. Michael’s College.
CCCM ANNUAL LEC-
June 6, 2005
Dr. Moira McQueen
Director of the Canadian
Catholic Bioethics Institute
teaching and counselling careers and have looked for ways to serve CCCM and
chaplaincy. Having been relieved of other duties in the Diocese of Saint John, the
opportunity arose for me to serve on the executive, representing Atlantic
chaplains and campus ministers. I deem it a privilege to serve Campus Ministry
and the Canadian Church and look forward to being a member of the executive
and of CCCM during these exciting times.”
MICHAEL MACLEAN is serving in his seventh year in campus ministry at St. Thomas
More College, on the University of Saskatchewan campus. Previously, he served
as Youth Ministry Coordinator at St. Philip Neri Parish in Saskatoon. Michael is
married to Melanie, and has three daughters at home: Krystin, Kathleen and Ava.
Michael is in his third year on the Board, and his second year as Board Chair.
“I think it is so important to serve the association that brings you life,
especially in a ministry that can feel isolated. Serving can happen in a number of
ways. Currently, for me, it means serving on the Board as Western Canadian
Representative and Board Chair. I am proud to do so, and I really enjoy working
with the other Board members. They are terrific!"
To p: Michael MacLean, CCCM
Bottom: CCCM Board: Laurie
Friesen, Sr. Teresa Mahoney,
osu, Rick Benson, Michael
MacLean, Fr. Jim Link, C.R.,
Marilyn Elphick, Fr. John
Below: Wall mural at University
of Notre Dame, in Indiana, site
of the 2004 CCCM Conference/
Transitions in Faith Symposium
THERESA MAHONEY, OSU has been a campus minister on team, with Father Ken
O’Keefe, at Brescia University College for ten years. Brescia is the only women’s
university level institution in Canada, with a small, yet diverse student body of
about 1000 students.
“I agreed to serve on the CCCM Board to give back to an organization
which has helped me personally and professionally. When most of us start out, we
have some general idea of what we need to do, but there is not usually much
practical support available. CCCM has provided that for me, at conferences or
through one to one conversations. I know I can contact someone who has been
around awhile and explain my dilemma, and expect some advice or at least an
understanding and listening ear. We provide encouragement and ideas to one
another in our commitment to our students.”
(CCCB-Ottawa) — Rev. Raymond Lafontaine, a diocesan priest from Montreal,
has received the Harvest Award, September 12, 2004, from the National Religious
Vocation Conference (NRVC), for his “exceptional contribution” in fostering
vocations in North America.
The 40-year old priest was given the award for his role as Canadian codirector
of the 3rd Continental Congress on Vocations, held in Montreal in 2002.
The award is given every two years by the American-based NRVC made up of
1300 members, composed mainly of vocations directors from religious communities.
Father Lafontaine is the first Canadian to receive this prestigious award.
The North American Vocations Congress was held at the request of the
Vatican and jointly organized by the Canadian and American episcopal conferences.
The event brought together over 1200 participants from all over North
America to discuss vocations. The fruits brought forth from thousands of consultations
in every corner of North America and the Congress itself resulted in the
publication of a pastoral guide on vocations that has sold over 15,000 copies to
date. Father Lafontaine coordinated the production of this pastoral plan that is an
essential resource in encouraging and sustaining Christian communities in their
mission of fostering a thriving “vocations culture” in the Church.
Conversion, Discernment, Mission: Creating a Vocation Culture in North
America is available through the Publications Service of the Canadian Conference
of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) at: http://www.cccbpublications.net/.
Rev. Raymond Lafontaine was
RC Chaplain at Concordia
University the past four years.
He was CCCM’s 2004 Bishop
Sherlock Lecturer and will be a
workshop presenter at the
CCSA Leadership Conference
in January 2005.
What does campus
ministry mean to me?
Caribbean Student finds warmth in
Halima Jno-Baptiste, Antigua
Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL
“You better get used to this, because this is the warmest it’s gonna get.”
I will remember those words for a long time to come. What was I doing in
St. John’s, Newfoundland? Warm? I’m accustomed to 26 degree weather, and here
I am, in August, and I’m shaking. And then I noticed I was the only one shaking.
That day in August, 2000 was the start of a whole new life for me. I never
thought I’d get used to anything here. Not the weather, neither the people. People
were still wearing shorts when I bought my first winter jacket. They spoke and it
did not sound like English. But here I am, four years later, getting ready to go
home for good, and I have grown attached to so many things here.
When I look back at that naive 17-year-old, away from the Caribbean for
the first time, I am stunned. I never imagined I would have changed so much. I
love the people. I love their attitude. I won’t go as far as saying I love the weather,
but it isn’t too bad, even now, with a blizzard at the end of April. This is
Newfoundland for you.
I never thought I’d survive. I was all alone. I knew no one. I was scared to
go outside. My first year, I only went to two places: school and the mall. I would
get invited to go to places: walking, parties, sledding. But I didn’t. It was way too
cold. All I wanted to do was stay at my apartment, with my heater blasting.
What now, you ask? We’re having a blizzard. On the TV, the announcer
cautions, “don’t go out unless you have to.” Yet, I am putting on my shoes and
looking for my mittens. I must go out. Church is at noon and I have to get there to
set up. They are depending on me. Not just people. Not just friends. My family.
These people have made my experience in Newfoundland an unforgettable
one. They have been there for me; they make me happy; I depend on them and
they on me. I go early to help set-up, organize readers and other volunteers. This
is a special day---my last here. During the prayers of the faithful, they pray for me;
they thank God for me. They do not know that I thank God for them everyday. As
I listen to their prayers, I feel the tears coming down. I will miss them. My family.
MUNCC. The Memorial University of Newfoundland Catholic Community.
I remember the first time I met the Chaplain, Fr. David Shulist. I had seen
him before, once at Church and again at a game night that the International
Student Association had organized. But for some reason, I wasn’t very interested.
I don’t think I was paying any attention. I was too busy thinking of the weather
and getting home to my warm apartment. But a year later, I really met him.
In my second year, I changed my degree from Biology to English. And I
was miserable. I had just done a test and was certain I had failed. I felt so
depressed, but most of all, I felt alone. I had no one to cry to; no one to tell my
problems to. As I entered the University Centre, there he was sitting at a booth. I
recognized his face and I knew he recognized me. It would be too rude to just
pass by, so I stopped. He looked so happy to see me. He did not even scold me for
not going to Church. Instead, he did what I have grown accustomed to now: he
invited me to Church. We spoke for a bit and when I left, I did not feel like crying
anymore. I had told him I would be at Church on Sunday.
I don’t think I missed any Sundays after that. It was something that I had
to do. If I didn’t go, my whole week would have no meaning. The following
semester, I became the Secretary for MUNCC. I had grown so attached to this
group. They were not just sitting around and praying. They got together and
organized events. I discovered Newfoundland through them. I went to Cape St.
Mary’s for a hike to the ecological centre. I went to Flatrock, for a Walk for
Creation. I spent a weekend in Conception Bay for a Silent Retreat. I went
bowling for the first time. This is what MUNCC is about: hikes, walks, potlucks,
retreats, games, dinners. And they did not just do things for themselves; they tried
to help others also. They organized Prayer Walks for Good Friday, and Food and
Clothing Drives to help those in need. They joined other Catholic students in
Mexico every year to experience the culture there. They held 24-hour fasts to raise
money for different organizations. This small group did so much.
This is what university is about. This is what it should be about. It’s not
partying the weekend away or going downtown and getting drunk, not knowing
whom you go home with. It’s about meeting people, getting to know people and
helping people, having fun and remembering the fun times and fun people.
For two years now, I have been the MUNCC Coordinator and the
Sacristan at St. John’s Chapel where we gather for Sunday Mass. I have not only
taken part in all the events, but I help organize them. And I speak to everyone I
can about how wonderful MUNNC is. People whom I know outside of MUNCC
think I am different. I am the crazy girl who goes to Church three times a week
and never goes to the Breezeway---the University Bar. I know I am different, but I
enjoy it. I have a great life, a great family, and a great relationship with God.
I don’t think I will ever experience such love as I do here. I was confirmed
during the Easter Vigil and everyone came to celebrate. I knew I had their
support. Many people outside of MUNCC ask me why I waited so long to get
confirmed. I wondered so myself; that is until I did it. This was the perfect place
to be con-firmed. I understood what it meant, and I had grown more spiritual than
I ever thought possible. I have given my life to God in a way I never imagined that
I could and I have MUNCC to thank for this.
I am both sad and happy as I leave. I am sad because I am already missing
these wonderful people, but I know that they will always be a part of me. I will
never forget their love, kindness and encourage-ment. I don’t think I would ever
have made it without them. I leave a new person—confident, mature and, most
important, spiritual. And if anyone asks me what was the greatest thing about
Newfoundland, it won’t be any crazy parties or great beer. I will not even tell them
that I got my degree here. Instead, I will tell them that I found my second family
there and that through them, I was able to develop a relationship with God.
I do not wish riches for people. I do not wish them free trips to exotic
parts of the world. I wish that they would be able to find a wonderful group and
that, through it, they would grow closer to Christ, as I have.
“He looked so
happy to see me.
He did not even
scold me for not
going to Church.
Instead, he did
what I have grown
accustomed to now:
he invited me to
The Society of Jesus
Priests and Brothers Serving the Church
H E A R T S
big enough to embrace a suffering world
M I N D S
sharp enough to grasp a complex world
deep enough to sustain this vision and service
FOR THE GREATER
GLORY OF GOD
of English-speaking Canada
Assistant for Vocations
1325 Bay St., Suite 300
Toronto, ON M5R 2C4
Campion’s Courageous Consorts!
Campion College, University of Regina, SK
When asked, I jumped at the chance to explicate how exemplary Campion
College’s Chaplaincy is. I had the pleasure of working intimately with Campion’s
Chaplaincy for the past year during my term as president of the Campion College
Students’ Union (CCSU), since they are the CCSU’s faculty advisors.
They generously volunteered to assist with every CCSU event and fundraiser,
and to host their own retreats, so that students knew that fun, religious
events were occurring frequently, and everyone, of any religious denomination,
was always welcome to attend. Their motto could be “Working For Every Student,
For Anything and Everything” since they dedicated invaluable effort towards
student activities: individually counselling students about personal and academic
problems, performing daily liturgies, and hosting a bible study group. However,
this slogan does not encompass the powerful depth of their mission.
Campion’s chaplaincy has not limited their acts of kindness to the college.
They extend their hearts to people throughout the university and the community.
Within the university, the chaplains encourage a fulfilling lifestyle by living a
fulfilling lifestyle. They work with, and for, all people, students and non-students,
of all ages, ethnicities, and religious denominations spreading love, cheer, and
even food! For example, they gather food and money donations for the food bank
multiple times throughout the year, during Oktoberfest celebrations, Orientation
weeks, Welcome Weeks and many other social events that simultaneously
promote fellowship and charity. They host cheap meals ($2 for a Thanksgiving
buffet!) or give away cookies and juice to increase the students’ awareness that
there are people watching over them, but they still use these events to help staff
and students realize how easy it is to give back to the community with food
donations or as little as a 25-cent donation.
The most noteworthy community involvement that the chaplaincy
partakes in is their visit to the Regina Correctional Facility. Every week, they work
with inmates on improving their character by reinstalling faith in them in regards
to God and the power of human goodness. I believe that the chaplains give these
inmates the strength and courage to change their former destructive ways in order
to become benevolent citizens.
The chaplaincy also keeps the CCSU abreast on community volunteering
opportunities. For example, at Thanksgiving, they recruited our forces to help
serve meals to the needy and clean up afterwards.
So, what does campus ministry mean to me? I think a more apt question
would be: “How has campus ministry forever changed the way I, and many others,
live our lives?” From the chaplaincy’s gracious examples, I have realized how
important it is to encourage students, faculty, and staff not only to excel
academically and spiritually within Campion College, but to reach out and
positively impact people throughout the University of Regina and the Regina
community. I have discovered the power of living selflessly—for all of society—in
order to make other’s lives more rewarding and meaningful. Chaplaincy has
shown that world peace can happen, one smile at a time, one person at a time,
until the contagious wave of human goodness has reached everyone, in every state
of wealth, health, and societal standing.
“Their motto could
be ‘Working For
Every Student, For
“I didn’t realize
there were active
students with the
struggles and faith
goals as I had.”
“Song of the Cricket”
by University of Calgary student,
Christ on Campus
University of Calgary, Alberta
Where are you? What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel?
It’s 10:30 in the morning and you are compressed in a stairwell amidst a frantic
crowd of like-minded students racing their way to their next class.
Some have music blaring from their disc-mans, some are engaged in a
conversation about last night’s fart party, others are clutching their coffee styros
in one hand, and in the other their text books, bags under their eyes…just barely
making it through. Is this sounding like a familiar post secondary school scenario?
Perhaps. The crowd finally dissipates, the hallways are unpacked and you’re well
on your way. But where?
My experiences were similar to the one described. I was a busy student, set
on completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a minor in fine arts. I
worked a part time job (sometimes several) and managed a pretty steady social
life. I thought I had it all according to my plan. However, the same time I
embarked on my academic journey, I was also walking a spiritual road, seriously
seeking for truth in my faith and hungering for God. This made student life
difficult. I started to question some of the material being taught in university
classes. Was this the truth? Or were students being programmed to digest facts,
theories, and teachings contrary to the Christian faith? My eyes were opened to a
secular lifestyle, invading the halls, walkways, and buildings on campus. My heart
sank as I witnessed a lost and confused generation of students, walking the ways
of the world, but ultimately having no clue as to where they were heading. The
motivation I had in university declined, but it was only because God was calling
me to a ‘higher’ learning experience.
One month into the school year, I had joined a ministry on campus called
the University of Calgary Catholic Community (UCCC). I didn’t realize there
were active Christian ministries composed of students with the same questions,
struggles and faith goals as I had. The more I became involved with the campus
community, the more I began to discover the truth about my faith.
Through attending daily mass on campus, weekly bible study, and fun social
events, my faith walk was being nurtured. God’s spirit was alive and moving
through this student body and I felt the support and encouragement I needed to
tackle the demands of university life. The community was an answer to my prayers
and a beautiful blessing.
In the fall of 2002, God challenged me to take a step forward in my faith, by
accepting the position as chair of the UCCC council. This opportunity to serve as
a leader taught me many things. It wasn’t about large attendances at functions or
successful social events. It wasn’t about providing all the answers, or having
eloquent speeches to deliver. It was about having a goal to inspire students to seek
out God in their daily lives, to affirm and to pray for each other. It was about
becoming a leader filled with joy for service, hoping that individuals might
experience Christ’s love drawing them closer to himself and to each other through
the community. By the end of the semester, my faith journey was on an
accelerated pace but I still felt unhappiness in my pursuit for academic
During the summer of 2003, I discerned that God was ushering me down a
different road. I felt the call to embark on a new adventure, one that led me to
offer a year of my life to God by attending John Paul II Bible School in Hinton,
Alberta. I experienced a very different community life in comparison to the
UCCC. Attending bible school provided me with an opportunity to dive deeper
into my Catholic faith, to grow in God’s gifts and talents, maintain focused prayer
life, and to discover how to love and be loved.
It seems that this part of my faith journey has come full circle. I have
recently returned back to U of C to finish my degree and had taken up the
opportunity to lead the UCCC council once again for the 2004-2005 academic
year. How will this year be different for the ministry, for me as a servant-leader?
I am only one of several committed students helping to build a community
on campus that can bare the consistent light of Christ. One of the ministry’s
focuses is to provide students with ways they can develop an intimate relationship
with God through formation, studies on the Catholic faith and sacramental life.
There is a need for truth in today’s campuses and I believe campus ministries have
the capacity to witness that truth and make it known! A few years ago, it was
made known to me. Now, it is my goal to make it known to all.
I can look ahead now with a settling peace in my heart, feeling confident,
grounded and focused in my faith. I know where I am, what I see, hear, and feel,
and where I strive to go. Do you? It is the knowledge of who I am in Christ and
my mission in life to bear his light that propels me forward, ready to do His will.
Where they remember your name
University of Saskatchewan
This seems like an odd question to be asking, doesn’t it? The words, campus
ministry, might mean little to me in the day to day, but the friendly faces of campus
ministers mean a lot to me. The relationships that I have formed with various
members of campus ministry around the university have let me know that there is
always someone there who is ready to share in a good story, to share in a couple
of complaints, to share a cup of coffee, and to share in a good laugh.
I’m not really sure what campus ministry means, other than there are
several amazing people in my life that would not have been there before if not for
the fact that campus ministry exists... and I know that there are many others who
have felt and still feel the same way.
Campus ministers have always, in my mind, been people that you can rely
on; and in the sometimes harsh and unfeeling world of academia, having an adult
who cares who you are and remembers your name is as comforting a feeling as
you can ask for.
What makes me so impressed by the different and wide variety of campus
ministers I have met over my four years at university is their keen interest in
student issues and student life. To have someone want to validate your experience
as a university student is a powerful expression of Christian leadership.
Campus ministers walk with you in a journey towards Christ, and that has
been such a powerful experience for me that I often wonder how they live such
extraordinary lives of service for others in the everyday ordinary. My life, and I’m
sure the lives of others have been enriched by campus ministry. I only hope others
get to know campus ministers as well as I have over my time here at university.
2003 Newman Retreat
“What makes me
so impressed is
their keen interest
in student issues
and student life.”
From student to teacher, immersed in chaplaincy
St. Paul’s College, Winnipeg, MB
Putting into words the personal importance of college chaplaincy is not an
easy mission for me. Although I consider the U of M a first-rate school, welcoming
to a young man growing in his faith, it is not. Large classes, drab concrete
walls and nihilistic orientation events coupled with a secular worldview were a
difficult adjustment. Fortunately, there was an island of warmth and compassion.
Initially, St. Paul’s College was a locale of socialization. It was, after all, the
older brother to the high school I just left. Everyday, most of my friends would
retreat back to the college and have lunch together in a relaxed atmosphere. Over
a short period of time, though, we all got to know the college chaplain at that
time, Father Luis Melo, and many of us got involved in chaplaincy programs.
In those early years, I found myself involved in Christian Life Communities
(CLC), a weekly faith-sharing group which helped me reorient my life towards
God on a weekly basis, without which I may have fallen into the clutches of the
secular modernity proclaimed around campus.
I have many good memories of those early years: witnessing love blossom
between one of my best friends and his now wife; our guitar-loving metal heads
(and future Sunshine Girls) Eva and Beatta; meeting my fiancé daily for lunch
and going to chaplaincy-sponsored coffee houses with her. They are memories of
laying a strong foundation for my faith.
When most of my friends had left for other schools and degrees, I remained
and was married to Cara, my fiancé. The college and chaplaincy came to mean
even more. Cara, raised Mennonite, chose to become a Catholic due to her experiences
in chaplaincy and we went through the RCIA program together, learning
much about ourselves, our faith, and each other in the process. To this day, the
college chapel is our place of Sunday worship.
We immersed ourselves in other chaplaincy events, such as Busy Person’s
Retreats, Bible Study, and Sleigh Rides, while helping organize others. Cara
organized their semi-annual coffee houses that raised funds for The Welcome
Home, and I got involved in organizing a monastic visit to the Trappist Monastery
in Holland, Manitoba. Last year, I led a public Way of the Cross on campus, a
public display of my faith that hopefully lets other students know that there are
places of religious refuge on campus.
These were years that strengthened and enriched my relationship with Cara
and with God. The chaplains became special people. I learned to know them as
more than ‘Sister’ and ‘Father’, but as friends. I thank all those that I can remember:
Fr. Lou, Sr. Pauline, Sr. Elaine, Fr. Mike and Fr. Gerald. Each of them has
made my life a better one with God and I thank them for that.
This year, I return to my alma mater as a teacher. I am blessed with the
opportunity to lead in their CLC program, and hope that I too can guide the
students to walk with God after they leave the walls of the school. My prayer is
that they too will feel the light of God through college chaplaincy.
For me, a watershed moment in my faith life was the monastic visit, a day of
peaceful reflection where I learned to ask God that I too may be like Paul when
my final day is near and I may look to Jesus and say “I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim 4:7) and know that I owe
much of it to chaplaincy at St. Paul’s College.
“We both went
through the RCIA
our faith, and each
other in the
Not just colour by numbers teaching
University of New Bruswick, Saint John, NB
The impact campus ministry can have on members of your campus and
community is immeasurable. Even where I attended, the claustro-phobic UNBSJ,
there was a small campus ministry room next to my philosophy class. I noticed on
the door the names of a few Catholic chaplains with their phone numbers. I had
been pondering the Catholic faith for quite a few years and every day I’d walk by
that office. No one was ever there, but the numbers kept beckoning me.
I grew up in evangelical Christianity where people were always
approaching me about matters of faith, so the idea of actually having to take
initiative to contact someone myself seemed like too much a bother. I had been
through quite a struggle with my faith over the past few years. I had stopped going
to church, not formally; I just came up with a different excuse every week.
I found myself randomly wandering into Catholic mass if I happened to be
walking by a parish. There was no tangible reason for this, I just walked in, observed
and left. A few months later I ended up meeting a wonderful Catholic girl.
I actually felt as if God was trying to show me the way home. Dating my Catholic
girlfriend and finding myself consistently attending mass, I decided I needed to
become a Catholic. Regardless of what made me do it, I was pretty at peace about
the idea when I wrote down the Catholic chaplain’s name and number. The next
day I called him up and I met Rick Benson for coffee that weekend.
I told him that I just wanted to be a member of a local parish but he kept
insisting I go off to the annual Atlantic Conference for the CCSA. I can’t remember
if I tried to make excuses but off I went with no idea of what to expect. I
didn’t tell anyone my story there. I just tried to be “cool” with all that was going
on. I’m quite certain I was the only non-Catholic in that little Nova Scotia town,
but I made it through and learned quite a bit from it.
Upon arriving home, I was connected with the RCIA at St. Mark’s Parish,
just minutes from my home. Given that I didn’t make this decision till late October,
I needed a little help getting caught up on my learning if I hoped to be ready
for the Easter vigil. Rick decided to give me a hand and we began meeting in his
basement with a couple of friends every Tuesday morning between work and
school. The meetings were exciting, entertaining, and even controversial. It wasn’t
just colour by numbers teaching. We really discussed a lot during each week. On
Easter Sunday 2004, at the ripe old age of 21, I accepted the sacraments of Confirmation
and first Eucharist. I continued meeting with Rick on a weekly basis
and we continued to grow together.
I’m not writing this article because I think I am incredibly unique; after all, I
punch a clock four days a week and then wash some dishes. What I am hoping
that you can take from this is that campus ministry is a vital part of your university
campus and every day life. I would not have made it to where I am today if it
weren’t for the love and guidance of our local chaplain. I was never pushed but
often helped, and was always made at home. There are other people like me out
there just looking for a sign and someone that cares to help them. In my case, a
number of people went out of their way to help me out and genuinely cared. I
pray the thousands of others like me can encounter such an example of Christ’s
love and I know the readers of this article can be a crucial part of that.
“I was never
pushed but often
helped, and was
always made at
St. Thomas University AIDS
Vigil. Sam Keller at left.
Larch Tree as
In August 1997, the
National conference for
CCSA was held at
College. We welcomed
over 100 students from
all across the country for
a week of prayer,
discussions, field trips
and workshops. Because
the focus was on food
both physical and
spiritual, we asked
students to bring earth
from each of their
provinces, because earth
sustains our lives.
At the end of the
week, we dug a large
hole and intermingled
our shared earth, which
was to nurture a new
small larch tree on the
brow of the hill.
We knew there was
no point in transplanting
a delicate tree at the end
of August, so the
planted it in the
following spring. We
knew we got the exact
spot when we saw the
From Chile to Chilly
Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NL
It was a rainy day when I received the invitation from Memorial University
of Newfoundland for a Masters in Engineering. Although the Canadian education
system was a mystery to me I asked about graduate studies. The professor liked
my background in naval architecture and he offered me funding along with a
project. That was all—no welcome, no additional information about Newfoundland
or the program. Of course, nobody else knew the sacrifice behind that acceptance;
hence for most of the people in Chile, this event sounds like wonderful
news. For us, as a young married couple, it meant a big challenge.
Where is Newfoundland? Is it an independent island? Does it belong to
Canada or to the UK? We did not have any idea. The first step was to demonstrate
to the Canadian embassy how good and rich you are in order to obtain a student
visa, regardless of degree or university.
After spending our limited resources on visas, plane tickets, and winter
clothing, we left on a sunny, 30-degree day from Santiago de Chile. The American
airline took our passports, promising to return them once we arrived in Toronto,
the reason being we did have US visitor visas; no one told us we had to have them.
(continued next margin)
Flying “undocumented” is really scary, and we didn’t realize how many
cities you can visit using the cheapest ticket in the world. In Atlanta, all the appreciation,
the respect and the ideas that we shared about the USA disappeared in a
minute. Because we did not have the visitor visas, they treated us like delinquents.
They questioned us in the airport basement, then locked us in a room with maintenance
personnel until our next flight. What a shock!
In Toronto, we regained our passports, then flew to Halifax and finally into St.
John’s at midnight. Snow was everywhere. A blizzard was blowing over the city.
This was my wife’s first time in an airplane and in a snow storm. We did not understand
my supervisor when he picked us up at the airport. Despite living on the
island for 30 years, his British accent made things more difficult. We arrived at
campus housing; I asked for the keys and signed a paper. Later in the term, I would
realize what kind of paper it was and how important it was for our life in St. John’s.
The next day, December 31, our supervisor took us to the easternmost point
in North America, Cape Spear. After that trip, we did not go out of our apartment
for the next 60 days, except to classes.
After the initial trauma of English classes at ‘high speed talking,’ I started to
search for a church or information about Catholics at the university. Even though
our bodies were here, our hearts, mind and souls still were in Chile. We felt the
need of the good Spirit within us, as a relief, as a friendly visitor and as a hope.
Finally, we found St. John’s chapel and decided to attend the Sunday mass.
What a surprise! We found a few students, no more than six, in a nice, clean
and well-organized chapel with a non-Canadian looking priest. This mass was so
unforgettable. I can remember exactly the look in the eyes of Fr. David Shulist
when we walked in. Of course, we did not understand the whole celebration, even
the act of giving peace was a challenge. But, Fr. Shulist’s homily, in particular,
stays in our mind to this day. It was like he was talking to us in private, knowing
exactly our weakness and our strengths. Then, he came to us and gave us the sign
of peace. That attitude was amazing in the eyes of two people from Chile, where a
priest tends to be above the common people.
The paper I had signed in the middle of the blizzard was a four month lease,
now set to expire in 15 days. Moreover, I did not pay the rent to the university since
we moved in, because I did not know that only our building was not included in a
payroll deduction. Nobody told us about this, nobody called us to give us a solution
and, even worse, nobody gave us any help or support. We felt terrible. I went to see
Fr. David. That appointment was like a minute with my guardian angel. I felt like
none of the problems that we faced existed and, even more, I felt that we belong to
something that goes beyond a Sunday mass: a Catholic community.
Since that day, we began to visit members of the community, to attend
weekly mass, participate in activities created by the multifaceted and hyperactive
Fr. David. Literally, he conquered us, with his “eternal” and “spiritual” hiking, his
discussions during supper (Sunday stories), his friendship, his homilies in mass
and his reflections during a mass in a community member’s home.
So, whenever we needed something, or somebody was struggling with a
problem, the community worked like an army of ants. The beauty of living in this
way is the permanent connection between your daily activities and your spirituality.
We discovered that every assignment that we performed during the day became
more important and made more sense for us, when the inspiration to do it
came from our hearts. So, the community not only served people in need, but also
gave support and changed one’s way to see the simple things.
(from previous margin)
wonderful red earth of
Prince Edward Island!
During the last seven
years, the small tamarak
tree and CCSA National
have had to struggle to
survive. We had two or
three years of droughtlike
pails of water had to be
carried to the tree just to
help it survive. It was
dangerously close to a
pathway used for
construction in 2003, so
I watched it with great
trepidation. And this
spring and summer it has
just taken off in growth.
It is now about four
times its original stature
in 1997, standing about
12 feet high. The other
day when I was looking
at it, I was aware that
the CCSA, as a National
struggled too and now is
coming in to a new stage
of remarkable growth.
May the Leadership
the roots and branches
of CCSA National.
Sharing a cup at the Divine Café
University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE
For the past two summers, I spent Sunday evenings in the transformed basement
of St. Dunstan’s Basilica at the Divine Café, started by a few seminarians who
noticed how eager many young Catholic adults were to learn about the what, why,
when, where, and how of their faith.
Each evening consists of two speakers talking on different aspects of a topic, a
question and answer period, and excellent Christian music to start and end the
night, all within a café setting with refreshments and lots of fellowship. Topics have
included: the Eucharist, Communion of Saints, Demonology, Ecclesiastical Movements,
Marriage, Prayer, the Mystical Body of Christ.
The Divine Café has been very successful. The amount of organization and
effort has really paid off. Everyone goes home with a deeper understanding of the
Roman Catholic faith that they can then share with others. It is also a great place
for getting to know new people and having a lot of laughs.
Personal perspectives play an important part in the presentations; it is one
thing to read a definition of the Eucharist, but another to hear a person’s experience
with this great Mystery. Hearing how others understand and grasp the topics helps
everyone to see the mysteries from different perspectives. You don’t walk out thinking
you’re an expert in faith, but you have a sparked interest in learning more.
One topic that stuck with me was the Mystical Body of Christ. To know
Christ is in every human, and the interconnectedness of us all, really changes my
perspective on the world. I think of it as seeing the world through Mother Teresa’s
eyes. It keeps lingering questions at the forefront of my mind; how and what do I
contribute to my place in The Mystical Body of Christ? Am I creating a bruise or
keeping it healthy?
With the misconceptions about Roman Catholic teachings in the mass media
today, I think events like the Divine Café are crucial for our generation to keep their
faith strong, and also contirbute to the discernment towards, and journey within,
vocations. My gratitude to all those who have contributed to the Divine Café, and to
anyone who aids in the teachings of our Church.
...Community (continued from front page)
ing to our studies and our professional lives, the only one who can fulfill our
hearts and teach us to fully enjoy our lives.
In first year, in my native Brazil, I thought I was the only Catholic student
there. Later, I met at least fifty other people whom once also thought as I did. We
gathered together, we grew and still grow together, supporting each other in faith.
At Concordia, I have shared in its Catholic community: I attended Mass in
Loyola Chapel, where we also participated in Video Divina (a spiritual look at
contemporary films) and held shared suppers once a month. I helped organize a
prayer group, went on retreat at the Cistercian Monastery at Oka, and was
“adopted” by a Canadian grandmother.
Through the people I have met, God’s love, care, wisdom and strength have
reached me in many different and unexpected ways. I thank God for His presence
in my life. I thank all those who have welcomed me: “just as you did it to one of
the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (Mt 25:40)
Religious Typologies of Collegians
Rev. James Bacik
Rev. Bacik is a pastor, author, campus minister at Corpus Christi University Parish at
the University of Toledo. This is a short exerpt from his presentation at the Transitions
in Faith Symposium at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. The full text and other
symposium presentations can be found via a link on the home page of www.cccm.ca.
Sociological studies help campus ministers understand general trends
among collegians. We recognize, of course, that not all millenials are the same
and that we serve them best by respecting them as unique individuals. In order to
put some order into our pastoral work, however, it is helpful to cluster these
unique individuals in categories or types, which reflect their dominant spiritual
passion or interest. My experience with Catholic collegians suggests seven types
1. Eclipsed: A good number of Catholic collegians show no particular interest
in religious or spiritual matters. They do not attend Mass on campus and
seldom pray. Some feel they are too busy or have higher priorities, while others
experience guilt feelings, which blunt their spiritual longings. Yet they remain
religious beings and identify themselves as Catholics in surveys. Their
spirituality is not destroyed, but rather eclipsed by their current concerns. We
can hope that the ordinary process of maturation or some major events, such as
a personal crisis, the death of a loved one, getting married or having a baby, will
uncover their latent spiritual needs.
2. Private: Some Catholic collegians seldom attend liturgies or participate in
church activities, but pursue spiritual goals in other ways; for example, reading
religious books, communing with nature, and praying privately. Their private
spiritual journey can be fulfilling but, unconnected to traditional wisdom, it is
threatened by fads and superficiality. Our hope is that they will discover and
tap the rich spiritual tradition of their Catholic heritage.
3. Ecumenical: A growing number of millenials simply assume that the
divisions among Christians make no sense, and that we all should unite and
work together. Some are loyal to their Catholic heritage, but others have little
institutional loyalty and would join another Christian denomination if it
brought them closer to Christ and better served their spiritual needs. In this
competitive situation, we need vibrant Catholic parishes, which will utilize the
gifts and meet the needs of today’s collegians.
4. Evangelical: A small percentage of Catholic collegians manifests a piety that
resembles the evangelical Christian groups on campus. They speak easily about
their personal relationship to Jesus and gravitate to prayer groups with high
emotional energy. Some are charismatic in orientation, emphasizing the gifts of
the Holy Spirit. A few are really fundamentalists, who act aggressively in
preserving their Catholic heritage from the threats of the contemporary world
and the reforms of Vatican II, which appear to them as excessive and
dangerous. The church on campus should make room for the evangelical
Catholics and learn how to tap their energy and enthusiasm.
5. Sacramental: Many Catholic millenials still love their church and find their
Kara & Melissa at St. Joesph’s
Art & Prayer
(continued page 21)
Global Connection 2004
Cuernavaca Centre for Intercultural Dialogue
on Development (CCIDD)
29 April - 12 May 2004
This is not justice.
But what can I do about it?
Brescia University College, London, ON
Although my childhood was blessed with many family vacations that
involved traveling and exposure to culture through museums, reading, and
interaction with others, nothing could have prepared me for the two weeks I
stayed in Mexico—not the transition from leaving home and studying at university,
nor my twenty three years of life experience. Not even hearing personal accounts
from others that participated in the same program even hinted at what I would
know, and feel, when I took off on the return flight back to Canada.
Thank you for taking the time to read about this incredible opportunity
that I sought out. It may be difficult at times for me to express my thoughts about
this journey; I cannot recreate the noises, smells, sights and feelings of the
experience. I will attempt to share with you my words and thoughts, in reflection.
Since my return to Canada, I have been immersed in the regular routine
that most university students share: summer employment. Although blest to have
two jobs waiting for me, work quickly became my everyday focus. The paycheques
came in, the days went by fast, but I was tired, and summer was almost over.
Tuition was due and my savings instantly shrank.
As I complain about my difficulties, I stop myself. What I see as a burden
would be a blessing to so many people in this world. The fact that I can go to
school is something that I should be rejoicing. My fortunate employment spoils
me. That I am able to speak freely and openly with you today, as a young woman
and student is truly freedom!
To bring you back to my thoughts on Mexico, I consider how gratitude is
essential to a balanced life. But, I often take many aspects of my life for granted; I
am sure other Canadians can relate. Through the fast-paced “work-focused” lives
we live, we may be too busy to notice the smaller, simpler blessings in life. I
remember a few moments in Mexico: laughing children playing soccer with an old
ball on a cement floor; savouring the taste of salt on my lips as I enjoy a
handmade, still warm tortilla with fresh salsa; the smile of an elderly woman
embracing her grand-daughter in a warm, safe hug.
Life can be broken down into simpler aspects. In our technology-driven
society, it seems we make everything complicated or confusing. God blessed us
with life, with choice, and with freedom. It’s as simple as that. We are spoiled that
we even can choose.
While in Mexico, I often thought that these people seem to have
incredible faith. Some of the families that welcomed us into their homes had little
modern features. Drinkable water was uncommon for many. Yet the children were
able to laugh and play, like any child in Canada. The mothers were hard workers,
with many worries and fears for their families and themselves, yet they took each
day as a blessing, and did not complain. Many had faith in God, that God loves
them no matter what, and that even they themselves are blessed.
God does not discriminate. He will not love one more than another.
Unfortunately, our world does seem to discriminate. There is unequal distribution
of wealth, power and resources. Many die each day, while others bathe in the
riches of sports cars, immaculate homes, resort vacations, designer clothes, and
the wastage of so many things (like food, water, paper, etc.).
This is not justice. But what can I do about it? I am just a small speck in
this vast universe. But if I don’t start, who will?
As a participant in the CCIDD experience, my own awareness increased
and I am able to recognize the universality of faith and joy. Also, I can
acknowledge what type of changes and needs Mexico has, from the accounts of
Mexicans themselves. With this information, I value the importance of sharing
this experience with others, like you.
The group of Canadians that shared the Mexico experience with me was a
diverse and inspiring collection of people from across the country. Although only
in my life for a brief two weeks, memories of some conversations and activities I
carry with me today.
I ask that you reflect on my reflections. What can you do to make a
difference in this world? Prayer and thoughts can easily be put into action with
the right attitude and initiative! CCIDD is ready for you!
...Typologies (continued from page 19)
spiritual nourishment through fairly regular participation in the official liturgy
and traditional practices. As a result, they are attuned to the presence of God in
everyday life and have a general sense of the sacramental character of the
whole world. Some of them report mystical experiences, while others simply
trust that God is present in their daily lives. These students often need
affirmation that their spiritual intuitions are in accord with the core spirituality
of the Catholic tradition.
6. Prophetic: Most campus ministry programs have a small group of students
committed to working in various ways for justice and peace in the world. They
align themselves with the goals of organizations like Pax Christi and Bread for the
World, devote themselves to causes such as racial harmony and environmental
health, and try to help those in need. The developing tradition of Catholic Social
Thought can be a great source of guidance and inspiration for them.
7. Communal: Many millennial Catholics feel the need to associate with others
who share their values. They like worshipping with kindred spirits at Mass,
using their gifts for the benefit of the church, and participating in faith-sharing
groups. They often need reminders that an authentic communal spirituality
maintains dialogue with the larger world.
These categories obviously overlap. For example, most Catholic collegians
in all these categories maintain a sacramental sense of life. Millenials with a
communal spirituality may also be committed to helping the poor. Despite their
limitations, these types are helpful for pastoral planning because each model
suggests a passion or interest, which campus ministers can tap in planning
programs and developing practices. The models also suggest spiritual limitations
and weaknesses, which require pastoral care. Developing types based on the
current interests of collegians moves us beyond the older categories of
progressive, conservative, liberal, neo-conservative and reactionary, which
represented various responses to Vatican II, but no longer fit the millenials, who
have no experience and little knowledge of the Council.
A Dose of Reality Therapy
Theresa Mahoney, osu
Brescia University College, London, ON
I had arrived back in London about midnight and dropped, exhausted, into bed
only to be awakened thinking of this event which had happened while sitting on the
tarmac in Mexico. We had talked about reentry to Canada. I suspected that most of the
people I was coming home to would be quite aware of issues I would be raising; that has
proven to be true. I realized that this might not be true for the 20 Catholic university
students from across Canada. So God needed to provide a bit of reality therapy for me
early on in my return. This is what I wrote in those early morning hours.
It didn’t take long for my first interaction with a fellow traveller about my
stay in Cuernavaca. We were still on the tarmac in Mexico City airport when my
seat-mate and I had the usual traveller’s interaction about our presence in Mexico.
The basic facts were that I was returning from a two week experience at CCIDD
and she was returning from a 5½ month stay at her condo in Acupulco to return
to her home in Belleville, Ontario. Who knows what about what Mexico? She has
been going to Mexico for 25 years and, now that she has retired, she can spend
half her time in Mexico. I have had one trip of two weeks to one area of the
country and am unlikely to be returning soon.
I explained briefly that I had been a participant in an intensive program of
intercultural dialogue on development from a social justice perspective with a
group of 20 Catholic university students from across Canada. I spoke of visiting
with several people from a variety of living experiences of extreme poverty,
indigenous culture and projects of hope. She spoke of a work ethic different from
the North American one because she had expected the person who takes care of
her condo to arrive at work on the previous Monday but it was Mother’s Day and
thus a statutory holiday. She did not show up on Tuesday because she had
“partied too much.” There was no consideration given to the possibility of sick
children or other family emergency. I spoke of visits to poor people who worked
very hard just to survive with a minimum of food, inadequate shelter and little or
no safe drink-ing water. She wondered if what I had seen had been a “set-up” for
the tourists. I spoke of seeing acres of substandard housing in settlements and
furthermore had visited an indigenous community which had been in its setting
for centuries, has survived the Spanish conquest because they were remote and
were not discovered for a long time. They continue to hold to their traditional
values and culture. This was not a Hollywood set!
We were both returning to Canada from Mexico but we had few other
similarities in thought. We each saw a different Mexico and I suspect see a different
Canada. She sees the migrant workers in Canada as very fortunate to receive
whatever is the minimum wage for migrants, including food and shelter. I met the
wives and children of migrant workers who appreciate the money their husbands
make but mourn the loss of family life. Perhaps our conversation was only a brief
interlude on our life-paths but it gave me pause to reflect on the impact of two
intensive weeks of prayer, work, study, laughter and tears as a small group of
people from Canadian universities reflected on Catholic social teaching,
intercultural dialogue and the connectedness of all people across political, cultural,
religious, economic and historical lines. I am grateful to my fellow traveller
for this opportunity to integrate so much of my brief experience of Mexico.
~a squatter settlement
~a working class parish
~Central American reality
~North American responsibility
~Catholic Social Teachings
~labour and church leaders
~grassroots & pastoral leaders
3 - 17 May 2005
click ‘Get Involved’
International Youth Forum
Forum International des Jeunes
Mon expérience au VIII Forum International des Jeunes fut effectivement une
expérience de vie sensationnelle. Le forum avait comme thème: Témoigner du Christ
dans un milieu universitaire. Il y avait environ 200 participants provenant de 90 différents
Ce fut une semaine inoubliable pendant laquelle j’ai eu la chance de former des
liens d’amitiés solides avec des gens parvenant d’un peu partout sur notre planète. J’ai eu
la chance de rencontrer plusieurs personnes qui m’ont profondément inspirés à être une
meilleure personne et j’en serai toujours reconnaissante. Je réalise maintenant que tous
ces gens qui m’ont si touché avaient tous une chose en commun; leur joie de vivre et leur
amour pour Dieu.
J’ai aussi eu l’occasion incroyable de voir le St-Père à deux reprises pendant la
semaine. Nous avons eu la chance unique de participer à la procession des rameaux et de
s’asseoir tout près du Pape sur l’estrade pendant la messe du dimanche des rameaux au
Vatican. Malgré sa frêle santé, il continue d’être une source vibrante d’énergie positive.
Il est réellement une source d’inspiration pour nous tous. Il s’est adressé directement à
nous, les jeunes du forum, à plusieurs reprises. Il nous invitais à devenir des
véritables “sentinelles du matin” dans nos campus, d’avoir le courage d’être soi-même,
de défendre notre identité et de trouver un réel sens à notre vie.
À l’aide de témoignages de foi et d’échanges d’expériences entre les étudiants
qui parvenaient de milieux très différent, nous nous sommes très vite aperçus que nous
vivions plus ou moins les mêmes problèmes et difficultés. De langues, de culture et de
nationalités différentes, nous nous sommes tous sentis unis pendant le forum, comme les
morceaux d’une mosaïque multicolore. Ce fut une expérience de foi et de communion
fraternelle, une très forte expérience d’Église.
À première vue, l’université semble être un endroit idéal pour
l’épanouissement des individus. Mais de plus en plus, la société fait que l’université est
devenue un endroit moins propice à la croissance. Les étudiants se sentent souvent
obligés d’étudier dans un domaine où ils se trouveront facilement et rapidement un
emploi. Le savoir est devenu une marchandise et moins en moins de gens s’intéressent à
la vérité. Nous sommes souvent trop préoccupés par le but premier de nos études, qui
est évidemment l’obtention de notre diplôme, que nous manquons probablement souvent
plein d’autres occasions de vivre des expériences des vies qui nous permettraient de
grandir comme personnes.
Un autre obstacle que les jeunes de partout doivent surmonter au niveau de
leur foi quand ils arrivent à l’université c’est que pour la première fois de notre vie, nous
sommes loin de l’influence de nos parents. C’est souvent la première fois que nous avons
réellement la liberté de remettre en questions les traditions et les valeurs que nos parents
nous ont transmis. Le début de l’âge adulte est une phase fondamentale de notre vie pour
la croissance. C’est un temps de recherche sur le bonheur et la vérité.
Puisque la plupart de nos profs et la plupart de nos syllabus de cours ne nous
donnent pas beaucoup de liberté pour vraiment s’arrêter et réfléchir sur le sens de la vie,
il revient à chacun de nous de le faire. C’est notre devoir en tant que Chrétiens. Comme
nous ne sommes pas notés sur ce devoir, il semble parfois très intéressant de passer à
Canadian delegates join
Catholic youth from around
the world at the VIII
International Youth Forum at
The Canadians: (from right)
Renée Daigle, Dave Byrne,
with Jeremy Rude.
côté sans le faire mais c’est nous-mêmes qui sommes les grands perdants si nous
décidons de procéder de cette manière. Il ne faut surtout pas oublier qu’il y a beaucoup
de jeunes qui pensent et qui partagent les mêmes idéaux que nous. Nous devons
rechercher les espaces éducatifs qui nous aident réellement à grandir comme les
aumôneries, les communautés et les groupes de jeunes.
La vie est gratuite. Notre intelligence, nos valeurs, nos amis, la famille... tout
nous a été donné gratuitement par Dieu donc je crois que c’est notre devoir de se
développer à notre plein potentiel et de partager ce que l’on connaît avec les autres. Il
nous revient à nous, ceux qui ont trouvé cette vérité, de la partager avec les autres. Il faut
être des témoins et être la lumière du monde. Il faut aussi se rappeler que notre foi va
nous permettre dans le futur d’être passionnés par la vie, donc apprécier notre travail et
notre vie quotidienne. Dieu nous a donné la capacité de penser, réfléchir et de rechercher
la vérité, ne gaspillons pas ce don de Dieu!
International Youth Forum
Forum International des Jeunes
Dave Byrne, 2003-04 CCSA Central Representative
St. Jerome’s University, Waterloo, ON
When I left my home in Oshawa, Ontario, on the last Monday morning in
March, I was filled with a mix of emotions: excitement, apprehension, and an
overwhelming optimism. After all, it’s not every day that you are sent to represent
your country at an international Catholic conference in Rome.
The flight, albeit long, was a good space in which to organize my thoughts
and prepare my mind and heart for the upcoming days. The Eighth International
Youth Forum---“Youth and University: Witnessing to Christ in the University
World”---would be a packed week that would test my ability to absorb great deals of
information, meet many fabulous people and improve myself spiritually, all on a few
hours of sleep. My average, for those interested, was 3.7 hours per night.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by some of the facilitators and taken to the event
site, Rocca Di Pappa. Over the next few days, I met delegates from over 80 countries
and listened to a number of phenomenal Catholic speakers address a variety of
different issues which face Catholics today. A detailed timeline of the Forum’s
events is available on the Vatican website. What I present here are some of the lifeenriching
experiences I had.
I was always told that catholic meant universal. I thought I had a good grasp
on this concept until the Forum deepened my understanding of the idea. Within
hours of arriving at Rocca Di Pappa, I was overwhelmed by the vast diversity which
surrounded me. This intimidating feeling, however, quickly passed the first time I
attended mass with the other delegates. While Catholic mass can be said in many
different languages, it is still the same mass. So, while we all came from different
countries, the experience of celebrating the Eucharist with such a diverse group
made me suspect that our faith would serve as a unifying force throughout the
conference. Sure enough, it did. By week’s end, I noticed that, while I was from
Oshawa, I still faced many of the same problems and had many similar experiences
as other Catholic university students from around the world. Our problems on the
surface seemed different, magnified by cultural themes, but at the core, Catholic
students around the world were unified in experience. We dealt with the struggle for
acceptance in increasingly secularized society, dropping numbers in attendance at
church and at Catholic Youth groups, and a myriad of other situations. It was
through our faith that we were able to instantly break down the cultural barriers
which limit so many people and keep some from discovering the beauty of other
cultures, realizing that in this world we are one under the Lord.
With every great organization, there is a great leader. Often seen as a distant
light in the world for many Catholics, a picture on the wall or a face on the television
screen, the International Youth Forum taught me that Pope John Paul II is very
much a direct part of and influence to every Catholic’s life. Over the course of the
week, I was in the presence of the Holy Father on two different occasions. On both
occasions, he spoke to the delegates—the youth of the Church—and gave us words of
encouragement. While his words were surrounded by ceremony and formality, I
found that, when I heard the Holy Father speak, I could connect directly with what
he was saying. He commissioned us to seek truth in the halls of the University and
in the world, and to be relentless in doing so, that we may bring the light of Christ
to the world. His soft voice and humble mannerisms, coupled with his powerful and
delicately thought out message, touched me. As I listened to him, I came to think
about the fact that the Holy Father was a young man like me at one time, and he
once lived in the often difficult and confusing university world, where he was faced
with the task of seeking the truth and trying to find his place in the world. He once
did as I am doing now---seeking the right path in life through faith---and just as faith
had united me with the delegates of the Forum, it also united me with the Holy
Father. At the moment this idea struck me, the Pope ceased to be a picture on the
wall in my grandmother’s living room in Gander, Newfoundland. I realized I could
connect with him as a real human being who had experienced what I am experiencing,
who had chosen to let his faith guide him. He is a model for us young Catholics,
a person who made the right, and surely the most difficult choices, and succeeded
in doing so.
Leaving Rome was difficult. It was a week of pure spiritual experience. I had
prayed much, met many people, learned about my faith, had a great time, and had
my trust renewed in the idea that the search for truth was a noble quest. Where will
the next step in my life take me? Who knows? The Eighth International Youth
Forum taught me though that the next step—the step into a life searching for truth in
Christ, at the university—is worth taking.
Ukrainian Catholic UNITY’04
University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB
I am a student at the University of Alberta and a member of the Ukrainian
Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton. For the past 7 years I have been an active
participant with Edmonton Eparchy UCY (Ukrainian Catholic Youth).
This past August, I had an opportunity to be surrounded by Alberta’s
Rocky Mountains along with new and familiar faces. Ukrainian Catholic young
adults from across Canada gathered in celebration of UNITY 2004. This event
follows a long line religious gatherings among the UCYA (Ukrainian Catholic
Young Adults), the most recent being World Youth Day 2004 in Toronto.
The participants included a large number of students from across North
America, as well as newly married couples, newly ordained and new professionals.
We were also blessed by the support and presence of Metropolitan Michael Bzdel,
Bishop Lawrence Huculak, and Bishop David Motiuk. The weekend was
facilitated by Reverend John Sianchuck and Reverend Stephen Wojcichowsky.
Together, they focussed on the Holy Trinity, the Divine Liturgy, and the
Sacrament of Reconciliation.
UNITY also included an inspiring collection of guest speakers from across
Canada and the United States, widening our understanding on the sacrament of
Marriage, the art and spirituality of the Ukrainian Catholic Church’s Byzantine
As is customary during all of these events (and typical of the Ukrainian
Culture) all the participants made time for a chat, a photo, a drink and a dance.
And, as usual, the next event is eagerly awaited. See you in Germany, for the next
World Youth Day 2005, and in Saskatoon, for UNITY 2006!
Members of the CCSA
Executive are busy getting
ready to host the CCSA
Conference at Cap-de-la-
Also in event news:
West Region: Oct. 22-24
Central Region: Oct. 29-31
Atlantic Region: Nov. 5-7
Into the Fields is published
twice annually by Canadian
Catholic Campus Ministry
and Canadian Catholic
ItF is available for pdf
download at www.cccm.ca.
Canadian Catholic Campus
Ministry is a registered
This is only the second year that a Catholic students
group has existed at Acadia. The Campus Group Guide
was an amazing resource in helping us
get started this year, in terms of both
logistical things, like running meetings and delegating
responsibilities, to coming up with event ideas for the
year. It also provided great background information on the
CCSA and the International Movement of Catholic
Students, so our members could realize what a great
organization we are a part of.
Copies available through the CCCM office at
506-849-4985, or email@example.com
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