Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Weekly Update from CCM

Happy Fall!  

Confession time -- I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to hot temperatures.  Summer time is great fun, but I always get excited at the prospect of cool autumn mornings.   Especially because we are blessed to live in a part of the world where the trees put on a nearly-miraculous display of color each year.  I can't wait!

And speaking of being blessed, Catholic Campus Ministry has some great stuff lined up, so let's get to it.

Ok, I know it was yesterday, but each week a group has started gathering at the fountain Mondays at 3:30pm to pray an outdoor rosary together.  What a great public witness to the faith, and our devotion to prayer!  If you are interested in joining in, all you have to do is show up.

Our chef this week is none other than Kaitlyn Conger.  We'll have a special celebratory dinner.  (What are we celebrating?  The fact that you're coming!  And that would be pretty lame if you didn't show).  After, Hunter will lead us in a short session on various forms of prayer, and talk about how different personality types may be drawn towards different prayer styles.  It would be helpful for those attending this week to know their four-letter Meyers-Briggs personality type.  I know a lot of you have taken this test at some point or another.  If you have not, or can't remember your type, there is a short (not official) online version you can take.  It's free and only takes about ten minutes.

"Tea @ 10" is a group of students who just like to talk about Catholic things.  They meet every Thursday at 10pm at the Starbucks here on campus.  All are invited to join them!

We were sorry to miss out on last week's Friday activities, but we had a great time at the Eucharistic Congress in Charlotte.  This week we are back on track!  Come join us for Scripture Study from 3-4pm.  And then stay for some solid prayer time in Adoration from 4-5.  By the way, our Scripture study group has been following the lectionary, looking ahead at the coming Sunday Mass readings.  You can find what readings we will be using this week by clicking below.

Volunteer service opportunity at the Catholic Student Center!  We have a small prayer trail, "St. Francis Path," that leads up the hill behind our center.  The path has gotten a bit overgrown with ivy, and so this Friday, at 5:15pm, we are having a student work session to get it cleared out and cleaned up.  If we have enough helping hands, we also need the grass mowed, and litter picked up from the parking lot.  Come help make your student center look beautiful!  

Less than two weeks until our Beach Retreat!  As of now, all available spaces have been taken, but we are still waiting on registration money from a few of you (you know who you are).  If you have not yet paid your $40 registration fee, or made some other arrangement with me, please do so ASAP.  After this week, I will open up any unpaid slots to others who want to go.  Those of you signed up will be receiving an email later today about the retreat.

I am happy to report that we have some additional spaces opened up for the Seeker's Retreat our Diocese is offering in Black Mountain this Nov. 2-4.  This is a peer-led retreat based on the Charis retreat model.  Students from college campuses across our Diocese will be participating.  If you had wanted to go but missed out on the early registration deadline, this is your chance.  Please come by the student center and see me for a registration form.  The fee is $50.

Did you know that over 300 students receive this weekly email update?  But less than a third of that number are on our Facebook group.  We use our Facebook group to send up-to-the-minute updates about things going on in Campus Ministry, and our Church in general.  We share links, articles, you-tube clips, prayer requests, and other interesting tid-bits about our faith, our celebrations, and our community.  If you have not signed up yet, please do check us out.  
If you are already on our Facebook group, please consider inviting other students you think would be interested.

Ok, the announcements being over, time for me to wax philosophical.  I had a weekend of blessings at the annual Eucharistic Congress in Charlotte this past Friday and Saturday.  I got to know some of the Sisters for Life a bit better.  I had the chance to meet some of your parents and siblings, and reconnect with those I already knew.  It was great to be able to talk to so many people about campus ministry and the great things we have going on here at WCU.  

But our faith is so much bigger than our campus ministry group here.  And I'm not just talking about campus ministry at App State, or UNCC, or Greensboro or Wake Forest.  Watching the Eucharistic Procession on Saturday morning was a good example of what I mean.  It went on and on, a seeming endless stream of people processing in after the Blessed Sacrament.  I saw Anglos, Asians, Africans and Hispanics.  I saw little girls in their First Communion dresses, and Knights of Malta in all their fine regalia.  Some groups sang and clapped as they marched.  Others prayed in silence.  Some people carried banners from their parish that looked like they were designed by professional graphic artists.  Others looked home-made, perhaps a project of the Faith Formation youth.  What a variety of people, all from our small Diocese!

Despite differences in language, culture, economic standing, education, and so many other things, we were all there for one common purpose -- to love and adore our Lord, who gave Himself to us on the Cross, and who continues to give Himself to us each day in the Eucharist.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, quoting the Second Vatican Council, calls the Eucharist, "the source and summit of our faith."  I'm afraid this has become one of those phrases that we, as Catholics, hear all the time but forget to ever really think about.  What does "source and summit" mean?  It means this is the beginning and the end.  This is where it all starts, and this is where is all winds up.  This is the utmost height our faith can reach, and the total depths that our theology can plumb.  It all flows from the Eucharist.  This is Jesus Christ.  And there is nothing else.

What an amazing comfort this should be for us.  Because we know that no matter what differences we may have with our fellow Catholics, we stand united in the the Eucharist.  We know that no matter if we feel happy, sad, encouraged or downtrodden, whether we are sick or well, we have Christ in the Eucharist.  We know that regardless of whether the priest gives a good homily or not, whether the choir is on pitch, or singing the songs we like, or not, we have Christ in the Eucharist.  We know that wherever we travel in the world, whether we are at home or a thousand miles away, where there is a Catholic Church, we will find Christ in the Eucharist.  

This is all that matters.  A few weeks ago our choir here sang one of my favorite old hymns, "Be Thou My Vision."  The first lines of that hymn are:
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
All else be naught to me, save that Thou art

If you get past the thous and arts what this line means is this:  "All I want to look at and see is You, Lord.  You have total reign over my heart, because nothing else matters to me at all except for the simple fact that you exist."  Wow.  

It's kind of like being in love.

God bless everyone, have a great week!

WCU Catholic Campus Ministry
Matthew Newsome, MTh, campus minister
(828)293-9374  |   POB 2766, Cullowhee NC 28723

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