The Archbishop’s Call to Share provides needed funding to five Kansas Catholic campus ministry programs: at the University of Kansas In Lawrence, Emporia State University, Washburn University in Topeka, Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, and Donnelly College in Kansas City, Kan.
The priests and lay leaders of these archdiocesan campus ministry programs have the task of enabling Catholics to achieve an adult understanding of their faith, so that they are then able to be better witnesses to the Gospel, face challenges to their beliefs that exist in the academic world, and learn to live their Catholic faith more fully in communion with God and the church.
Most parents forget that in the typical classroom, college students are exposed to multiple challenges to their religious beliefs. Our priests and lay leaders understand that campus life tends to reinforce these intellectual challenges and can shake the faith of Catholic students.
Fortunately, Catholic college students can find a community in the Catholic campus centers, where they can discuss these challenging questions and find clear answers and security in the midst of a very complex culture. The archdiocesan campus centers are places that offer a respite from the whirl of campus life, where students are pulled in numerous social directions that so easily allow young people to drift away from their faith.
These campus ministry programs, funded by the Archbishop’s Call to Share, are places — not only for students, but for Catholic faculty members — to find answers to the intellectual challenges to their faith that they experience daily from often hostile critics. The authentic theology and spirituality that is provided by clergy and trained ministers of the church at the Catholic campus centers would not be available without your generous contributions to ACTS.
From these Catholic campus centers have sprung numerous vocations to the priesthood and consecrated religious life. The St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center at the University of Kansas is responsible for 32 priests now serving in dioceses and religious orders throughout the world, with 14 men currently in formation for the priesthood.
“The blessings of campus ministry are ours to share as an archdiocese, and the responsibility to ensure that these ministries are available on our college campuses is ours, as well,” said Father Steve Beseau, the chaplain/director of the St. Lawrence Center.
The Scriptures remind us that it is necessary to move beyond childish ways to more mature approaches to understanding the faith: “Let us, then, be children no longer, tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine that originates in human trickery and skill in proposing error. Rather, let us profess the truth in love and grow to the full maturity of Christ the head” (Eph 4:14-16).
Catholic campus ministries excel in education programs. The St. Lawrence Center is known nationwide as the model for education and formation of college students. The center offers 14 catechetical and theological courses to the students at KU. Combined with spiritual direction offered by the priests at the center and Sisters from the Apostles of the Interior Life community, students leave KU as wellformed members of the church and followers of Jesus Christ.
Members of the Catholic campus center communities who achieve a more mature grasp of their Christian faith are in a better position to understand themselves and their world. Those who continue their theological education through programs offered at Catholic campus centers are better able to reflect on their experiences throughout their lives in the light of the Gospel.