Wednesday, November 30, 2022

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

The elves have arrived at the Campus Religious Center.  The trees are up, the lights are twinkling, the garland has been hung!  We are so grateful for all of the work that went into turning the building into the beautifully decorated home away from home it has become!

November Birthdays!

 On Sunday, November 27th, we celebrated the November birthdays in Catholic Campus Ministries.  When the priest is the only one with a birthday, everyone gets to be in the picture!

Happy Birthday to Father Tony and the rest who celebrated in November!

Thanksgiving Dinner 2022!

 Thanksgiving Dinner was served without a hitch to more than 50 students.  We are very grateful for the Johnson family who did the serving again this year.  Our heartfelt appreciation to Dave, Christian, Emily, Carter, Maegan, Jennifer, and Katie for all the work for the day.  Everything from finishing food prep to food service to dishes (and dishes, and dishes) were easily managed by this crew.  

We hope your Thanksgiving was as special as the one here!

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Thanksgiving Dinner Preparation

2022 will mark our 7th annual Thanksgiving Dinner for the college students at Southwest Minnesota State University.  A traditional meal is served at no cost for our students.  This year, we have a slightly lower number signed up, although we are still getting notices of people who are coming.

This is a labor of love for the students, volunteers and staff.  It is many hours of preparation since everything is homemade from family recipes.  This year, we will be serving our dinner to go.  We are so thankful to the students who cooked, parishioners who made donations, staff and faculty of SMSU who passed the word to the students, and the priests who support this mission on Campus.

Saturday NetFlix Night

 Our Saturday evening activity this month was a NetFlix night, with a movie and games.  It was a small crowd, but we are always glad when we have people in and out of the people.  Join us in December for Cookie Decorating and Lefse Making (and Eating!)

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Catholicism 101: Bringing Jesus' Mercy to Life

Father Tony shared his Catholicism 101:  Bringing Jesus' Mercy to Life with the students this past Sunday evening.  Bringing Jesus' Mercy to Life is the embodiment of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  So often, this is referred to as "Confession", but the reality of the Sacrament is it is so much more than just confession.  It is the opportunity to hear the Lord, through the actions of the priest, actually grant forgiveness for the sins on our hearts.  

The question is often asked, "Why do you have to go to a priest?  Why can't you just pray directly to God."

There are a couple of answer to these questions.  First, in Matthew 18:18, it is said, "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."  This was a directive to the apostles in how to support people as they sought healing for their sins.

Second, the Sacraments are how God chooses to reveal Himself to His children.  The Sacraments are concrete ways for people to experience God.  God makes Himself visible through the bread and wine becoming the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist.  God makes Himself visible through the priest in the confessional.  

We have a few things to keep in mind as we visit the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Primarily, God *wants* to forgive us.  God desires the closeness of the relationship we can have when sin is not a barrier.  Next, God does not stop loving us because we are not perfect.  God loves us just as we are.  Third, the priest represents the presence of God.  Fourth, like the adulteress woman confronted by others for her sins, Jesus wants a direct, personal encounter with each of us, so He can tell us He won't condemn us, and we should go forth and sin no more.  

How long has it been since you have had a personal encounter with Christ in the confessional?  Is it time for you to pay Him a visit?

Gift Wrapping at Hill Street Place

Hill Street Place held their Holiday Bazaar last Friday.  The Newman Club and Catholic Campus Ministries was invited to wrap any gifts purchased for a free will donation.  Lots of conversations, a few laughs, and a round of singing was enjoyed by all.  We look forward to supporting Hill Street Place in their future Holiday Bazaars!

Monday, November 21, 2022

New Missals

 We have been quiet on the social media front, but we haven't been quiet in the day-to-day activities of campus life.  Over the next week or so, the goal is to get caught up on all that has happened recently.  Today, though, we are so thankful for our college students who stayed after Mass last night to help with the switch from the 2022 Breaking Bread to the 2023 Breaking Bread.  

For many, I am sure, it is just a part of the process of coming to Church to grab their missal from the cart.  It is our access to the prayers and readings of the Mass.  Few ever think about how those missals are made available to them.  Last night, for five college students, they got to have a hands-on experience as we recycled last year's books and put the new year's books into the binders.

I am appreciative of them because we were done with the process, from beginning to end, in less than 15 minutes.  If I had been doing it on my own, it would have been an hour or better.

Special thanks to Amanda, Emma, Jon, Olivia and Taylor!  You are all people I am thankful for in this week of Thanksgiving!