Fields

cccm.ca

Fall 2004 - Canadian Catholic Campus Ministry

Into the Fields

What does campus

ministry mean

to me?

We asked students across

Canada to tell us about their

experiences of campus ministry.

See what they had to say

Ṗage 6.

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

Inside:

Hear back from

Canadian delegates

to the 8th International

Youth

Forum ...24

Making the

Connection:

Students and

Campus Ministers

come home from

Mexico ...20

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.”

~Mt 9:37-38

Canadian Catholic

Campus Ministry

www.cccm.ca

Autumn

2004

ItF

Est. 1998

1


From the Editor

Rick Benson

National Coordinator CCCM

National Chaplain CCSA

2

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!

CANADIAN CATHOLIC

CAMPUS MINISTRY

Annual Conference

June 5 - 9, 2005

at the University of

St. Michael’s College.

featuring

BISHOP SHERLOCK

CCCM ANNUAL LEC-

TURE

Monday evening

June 6, 2005

Dr. Moira McQueen

Director of the Canadian

Catholic Bioethics Institute

3


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

Board Chair

Bottom: CCCM Board: Laurie

Friesen, Sr. Teresa Mahoney,

osu, Rick Benson, Michael

MacLean, Fr. Jim Link, C.R.,

Marilyn Elphick, Fr. John

Keoughan.

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.”

4


“Exceptional Contribution”

(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.

5


What does campus

ministry mean to me?

6

Caribbean Student finds warmth in

Newfoundland

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

Church.”

7


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

SPIRITUALITY

deep enough to sustain this vision and service

FOR THE GREATER

GLORY OF GOD

Jesuits

of English-speaking Canada

Assistant for Vocations

1325 Bay St., Suite 300

Toronto, ON M5R 2C4

416-962-4500

vocation@jesuits.ca

www.jesuits.ca

8


Campion’s Courageous Consorts!

Rhonda Collins

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

Anything and

Everything.’”

9


“I didn’t realize

there were active

Christian

ministries

composed of

students with the

same questions,

struggles and faith

goals as I had.”

“Song of the Cricket”

by University of Calgary student,

Jennifer Donaleshen

Christ on Campus

Michelle Castillo

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

achievement.

During the summer of 2003, I discerned that God was ushering me down a

10


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

Brennan Sarich

University of Saskatchewan

Saskatoon, SK

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.”

11


12


From student to teacher, immersed in chaplaincy

Ken Yost

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

program together,

learning much

about ourselves,

our faith, and each

other in the

process.”

13


14


Not just colour by numbers teaching

Sam Keller

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

home.”

St. Thomas University AIDS

Vigil. Sam Keller at left.

15


The Brescia

Larch Tree as

Metaphor for

CCSA National

Conference

Theresa Mahoney.osu

Brescia University

College

In August 1997, the

National conference for

CCSA was held at

Brescia University

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

planning committee

planted it in the

following spring. We

knew we got the exact

spot when we saw the

From Chile to Chilly

Javier Vera

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)

16


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

conditions when

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

organization, has

struggled too and now is

coming in to a new stage

of remarkable growth.

May the Leadership

Conference strengthen

the roots and branches

of CCSA National.

17


Sharing a cup at the Divine Café

Tasha MacEwen

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.

18

...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

of spirituality.

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

Oratory, Montreal

Art & Prayer

...Typologies

(continued page 21)

19


Global Connection 2004

Cuernavaca Centre for Intercultural Dialogue

on Development (CCIDD)

Cuernavaca, Mexico

29 April - 12 May 2004

20

This is not justice.

But what can I do about it?

Stephanie Watts

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.

21


22


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.

go global

VISIT

~a squatter settlement

~cooperatives

~a working class parish

EXPLORE

~Central American reality

~North American responsibility

~Catholic Social Teachings

ENCOUNTER

~labour and church leaders

~women’s movements

~grassroots & pastoral leaders

Global

Connection

Experience

2005

Cuernavaca, Mexico

3 - 17 May 2005

506-849-4985

or

www.cccm.ca

click ‘Get Involved’

23


VIII

International Youth Forum

Forum International des Jeunes

Renée Daigle

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

pays.

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

24


Canadian delegates join

Catholic youth from around

the world at the VIII

International Youth Forum at

the Vatican.

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!

25


VIII

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

26


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

Natasha Zakordonski

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

iconography.

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

National Leadership

Conference at Cap-de-la-

Madeleine, Quebec.

Also in event news:

Regional CCSA

Conferences

West Region: Oct. 22-24

Central Region: Oct. 29-31

Atlantic Region: Nov. 5-7

27


ItF

Into the Fields is published

twice annually by Canadian

Catholic Campus Ministry

and Canadian Catholic

Students’ Association.

ItF is available for pdf

download at www.cccm.ca.

Canadian Catholic Campus

Ministry is a registered

charitable organization.

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.

-Amber Fougere

The CCSA

Campus Group

Guide

Copies available through the CCCM office at

506-849-4985, or administration@cccm.ca

Editors

Rick Benson

Jarrett Morrison

Design & Layout

Jarrett Morrison

Advertising

Dimensions in millimetres.

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(190 x 124 or 93x 254)

Full page $200

(190 x 254)

For submissions, contact:

Rick Benson

(506) 849-4985

rbenson@cccm.ca

or

editor@cccm.ca

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If undeliverable, please return to

CCCM

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28

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